Though Jette’s debut emphasizes compromise, faith, and acceptance, the ill-explained “magical disability” trope muddles the...

READ REVIEW

WHAT THE WIND CAN TELL YOU

Aided by magic, 12-year-old Isabelle Perez learns that her nonverbal, severely disabled brother is capable of more than her family thinks.

Narrator Isabelle is determined that her older brother, Julian, who suffers from chronic seizures, will help her demonstrate her wind project at the school science fair. But everything changes after a severe seizure: Isabelle is welcomed into Las Brisas, a magical world Julian enters every night. There, Julian is physically perfect, but he reminds Isabelle that, even at home and disabled, he is still himself. In Las Brisas, the siblings share everything real life prohibits: visiting beautiful but inaccessible places, playing sports, and talking—especially about Julian’s condition and Isabelle’s realistic feelings of neglect. When Julian’s medication dampens his real-life pleasures, Isabelle must find a way to show her loving but fearful parents that nurturing Julian’s capabilities is as vital as controlling his seizures. Though Isabelle rejects the “brave nondisabled sibling” label and frequently reminds her family of Julian’s abilities, Julian nevertheless reads like a plot device. His family members—each characterized by a wacky quirk or “special gift”—ache and grow because of him. Isabelle’s promising visions of Julian’s future, courtesy of Las Brisas, hint at his possible development, but Julian in the present remains flat, merely reflecting Isabelle’s gift for “seeing possibilities.” Occasional Spanish words (selectively italicized) and Mexican food lend flavor to the family’s Mexican-American identity.

Though Jette’s debut emphasizes compromise, faith, and acceptance, the ill-explained “magical disability” trope muddles the message . (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944762-41-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This pitch-perfect contemporary novel gently explores the past’s repercussions on the present

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • Schneider Family Book Award Winner

AS BRAVE AS YOU

Eleven-year-old Brooklynite Genie has “worry issues,” so when he and his older brother, Ernie, are sent to Virginia to spend a month with their estranged grandparents while their parents “try to figure it all out,” he goes into overdrive.

First, he discovers that Grandpop is blind. Next, there’s no Internet, so the questions he keeps track of in his notebook (over 400 so far) will have to go un-Googled. Then, he breaks the model truck that’s one of the only things Grandma still has of his deceased uncle. And he and Ernie will have to do chores, like picking peas and scooping dog poop. What’s behind the “nunya bidness door”? And is that a gun sticking out from Grandpop’s waistband? Reynolds’ middle-grade debut meanders like the best kind of summer vacation but never loses sense of its throughline. The richly voiced third-person narrative, tightly focused through Genie’s point of view, introduces both brothers and readers to this rural African-American community and allows them to relax and explore even as it delves into the many mysteries that so bedevil Genie, ranging from "Grits? What exactly are they?" to, heartbreakingly, “Why am I so stupid?” Reynolds gives his readers uncommonly well-developed, complex characters, especially the completely believable Genie and Grandpop, whose stubborn self-sufficiency belies his vulnerability and whose flawed love both Genie and readers will cherish.

This pitch-perfect contemporary novel gently explores the past’s repercussions on the present . (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1590-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more