Fans of Brashares’ Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series will enjoy this romantic tale of cultural exchange on the...

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SECRETS OF A SUMMER VILLAGE

In Akyil’s debut young-adult romance, American teenager Rachel Guo learns about love and friendship on a summer trip to the west coast of Turkey.

Seventeen-year-old Rachel isn’t looking forward to spending her summer slinging coffee in Olympia, Wash., any more than 17-year-old Aylin is looking forward to spending her summer in Didim, Turkey, a tiny resort town on the Aegean Sea. Fortunately for both, Rachel accepts an invitation for an all-expenses-paid trip to spend four weeks learning about Turkish culture, language and family structures. Aylin’s large extended family is eager to welcome an American into their home to teach their traditions and indulge with lavish cuisine; hopefully they can improve their English, too. Rachel learns that Turkish teenage girls and boys may hang out together at underage clubs, but they can’t openly kiss, hold hands or engage in foreplay; courtship often remains secret until both parties are sure they’re in love. Rachel reveals that her father, the son of Chinese immigrants, impregnated her mother out of wedlock, and Aylin judges Rachel’s loyalty and morality based on her parents’ mistake. But when Aylin’s boyfriend, Emre, tries to seduce Rachel, can Aylin put aside her prejudices before everything spirals even further out of control? Akyil’s charming, well-developed female characters are the foundations of this novel. The male players, however, are illustrated with one-dimensional characterization; they’re either stereotyped as good (those who adhere to cultural tradition) or bad (those who adopt more “Westernized” behavior). This is due, in part, to the facile prose and simple structure of the novel. Although the book reads as if it were written by a precocious teenager, the plot is swift and sure. The epistolary effects of emails and texts—complete with Internet jargon and teen slang—should keep the story contemporary and relatable to young-adult readers, and the book’s ending begs for a sequel.

Fans of Brashares’ Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series will enjoy this romantic tale of cultural exchange on the western shores of Turkey.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463740115

Page Count: 300

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2012

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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HATCHET

A prototypical survival story: after an airplane crash, a 13-year-old city boy spends two months alone in the Canadian wilderness. In transit between his divorcing parents, Brian is the plane's only passenger. After casually showing him how to steer, the pilot has a heart attack and dies. In a breathtaking sequence, Brian maneuvers the plane for hours while he tries to think what to do, at last crashing as gently and levelly as he can manage into a lake. The plane sinks; all he has left is a hatchet, attached to his belt. His injuries prove painful but not fundamental. In time, he builds a shelter, experiments with berries, finds turtle eggs, starts a fire, makes a bow and arrow to catch fish and birds, and makes peace with the larger wildlife. He also battles despair and emerges more patient, prepared to learn from his mistakes—when a rogue moose attacks him and a fierce storm reminds him of his mortality, he's prepared to make repairs with philosophical persistence. His mixed feelings surprise him when the plane finally surfaces so that he can retrieve the survival pack; and then he's rescued. Plausible, taut, this is a spellbinding account. Paulsen's staccato, repetitive style conveys Brian's stress; his combination of third-person narrative with Brian's interior monologue pulls the reader into the story. Brian's angst over a terrible secret—he's seen his mother with another man—is undeveloped and doesn't contribute much, except as one item from his previous life that he sees in better perspective, as a result of his experience. High interest, not hard to read. A winner.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1987

ISBN: 1416925082

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1987

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