BOY TROUBLE

From the Ask Amy Green series , Vol. 1

Despite some unfamiliar language, this bubbly piece of middle-grade Irish chick-lit will have no trouble crossing the pond. The lightly humorous and good-spirited tale—even the villains are only mildly mean—centers on a 13-year-old girl named Amy who is beset with a million persnickety problems and one awesome asset. Her problems include two complex stepfamilies, the desertion of her best friend to a higher-status crowd and her awakening feelings for an outsider boy. Her asset is Clover, her 17-year-old can-do aunt with a mission, which includes helping Amy with all of her difficulties even if it means creating some new ones. That mission derives from Clover's job as an "agony aunt" at a teen magazine, and with Amy firmly in tow, she goes out into the real world and attempts to solve her readers' problems, which frequently involves revenge. The story starts off slow and initially feels familiar, but as the characters and situations develop, it builds momentum, interest and fizz. Good fun. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5006-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Thought-provoking and intense—recommended for patient readers.

WILD BLUES

Choices and their unpredictable aftermaths form the backbone of Kephart’s (This Is the Story of You, 2016, etc.) latest.

White, 13-year-old Lizzie’s choice to spend the summer in the Adirondacks with Uncle Davy while her mother undergoes cancer treatment is simple. There, she can also visit her “all-year-round friend” Matias, a Salvadoran boy with proportionate dwarfism who’s a talented watercolor painter. But when Matias is kidnapped by escapees from a nearby prison, Lizzie makes a harder choice: to rescue him, braving 6 million acres of wilderness alone. Lizzie’s adventure unravels in an epic victim-impact statement, which she addresses to a faceless visitor: Caroline, the kidnappers’ accomplice. Angry, frantic, insightful, and vividly lyrical, Lizzie’s voice densely weaves together the disorienting landscape; memories of her absent, narcissistic father; and Matias’ stories of the beauty and danger of the country he fled. Framed in Lizzie’s elegies to his “myths” and “light,” Matias himself seems more akin to a legendary figure than a person, which lessens the emotional impact of his disappearance despite Lizzie’s distress. As Caroline’s part in several characters’ fates emerges, occasional sympathy for Caroline conflicts with the irreversible consequences of her choices. Readers, like Lizzie, will ponder the possibility of forgiveness; there are no easy answers, but the book ends on a hopeful note. Sulit’s illustrations of Matias’ postcards appear in full color throughout.

Thought-provoking and intense—recommended for patient readers. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9153-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

LOST IN THE RIVER OF GRASS

Thirteen-year-old Sarah’s new classmates at Glades Academy don’t welcome her—she’s there on scholarship, and her mother works in the school cafeteria. On a field trip to the Everglades, Sarah seizes the chance to get away by sneaking off on an airboat ride through the saw-grass marsh with the guide’s 15-year-old son, Andy, taking only her backpack, a camera and some mosquito spray. A stop at a remote fishing camp ends in disaster when the boat sinks, and they’re stranded, surrounded by alligators and snakes, with half a bottle of Gatorade and a can of SPAM. Andy knows what they’re up against, but Sarah refuses to believe that they must leave the tiny island to trudge the 10 miles back to land. Wildlife and vegetation are vividly described; Sarah’s fear is palpable in scenes of near-disaster, and readers will cheer when she and Andy make it safely out of the swamp after five days. However, the first-person narrative is uneven, marred by gaps that make it hard to fully visualize some situations, and there are too few transitions to support some rather sudden instances of closeness between Sarah and Andy. Rorby cleverly offers only subtle hints that Sarah is African-American and Andy is white until late in the story, adding depth to this survival story framed within the story of an outsider. (Adventure. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5685-1

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more