Spy Kids meets White House Down in this fast-paced thriller with an overabundance of violence.

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T-MINUS

A terrorist threat to the president of the United States hits home for a teenager because the chief executive is her mom.

In Greenland’s (Scouts, 2019, etc.) latest YA thriller, Cuban American Sophie Washington will never forget her 17th birthday. It begins in the wee hours when her father wakes her with startling news: A domestic terrorist group has put a hit on her mother, the U.S. president. Her mom believes the action “is coming from someone on the inside.” Even kind-eyed Frank, the Secret Service agent who’s been with Sophie “forever,” can’t be trusted. Until today, Sophie’s biggest worry was how her parents would react to her plan to pierce her nose. Now, in addition to the credible threat to her mom, no one can locate her older “goofball brother,” Erik. When Sophie gets a call for help from Erik’s girlfriend, Britta, the first daughter evades her security detail and races to meet the girl at a designated spot. But no one is there when Sophie arrives. Do the terrorists have Erik and Britta as well as their other missing friend, Danforth? The three of them went to a party earlier, according to Erik’s best friend, Max. Sophie has her own posse: Zeke (who makes her heart “tumble”) and techno whiz kids Jackson and Callie. The group met in the CIA’s Teen Intelligence Program. Espionage training and plain, old badass ability help Sophie as she tries to find her brother and save her mom. The teen hacks into a senator’s computer, kidnaps an elderly woman, and straps a dagger to her thigh before sneaking into a construction site with Zeke. No one’s virginity gets lost in the propulsive novel, but a toe does, through torture. A surprising amount of cruelty, betrayal, and violence takes place, followed by an equally startling quick recovery from all of it. Attention from Zeke unrealistically seems to balance out all the truly bad stuff Sophie experiences. Toning down her take-charge abilities would boost the believability factor. But Greenland’s decision to make Sophie’s mom not immune to wrongdoing adds interest to the story as does having both the president and vice president ex-military. And the flashbacks in italics work well.

Spy Kids meets White House Down in this fast-paced thriller with an overabundance of violence.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-664-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2019

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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