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ZEBRAFISH by Sharon Emerson


SPF 40

by Sharon Emerson ; illustrated by Renée Kurilla

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 4th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9708-5
Publisher: Atheneum

Zebrafish, the plucky band of do-gooder musical misfits, returns in a sophomore offering ready for a summer of camp, video games, first jobs and art.

Picking up where Zebrafish (2010) left off, Vita, Tanya, Plinko, Jay and Walt are just beginning a very different summer together. Plinko and Tanya are off to work as counselors-in-training at an arts camp, while Jay and Walt will be working on a library’s bookmobile—leaving Vita to wallow about trying to figure out what to do. With no gigs for Zebrafish on the horizon, some members of the group decide to enter a “Strings of Fury” (a fictional cousin of “Rock Band”) video game contest. Unlike its predecessor, which concentrated mainly on Vita’s experience, this plot focuses on Tanya’s and Plinko’s time at the camp. In remission from her leukemia, Tanya befriends Scott, a diabetic fellow camper, who will not only become a good friend, but may just be their necessary secret weapon in the “Strings of Fury” contest. A diverse cast of characters pulls the narrative in different directions, but then it just flops about. The one-dimensionality of the art and the story makes it feel relentlessly vanilla. There is little excitement here, a sad fate for a promising summer-camp yarn.

Cardboard. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)