Unlike Webb, readers can face grizzly bears, wolves and psychopaths in the cozy confines of a good book.

READ REVIEW

DEVIL'S PASS

From the Seven (The Series) series

Seventeen-year-old Jim Webb must travel the Canol Trail in Canada’s Northwest Territories to fulfill a specific request made in the unusual will of David McLean, his beloved grandfather.

Webb may be the only hiker ever to travel Canada’s Far North with a Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar strapped across his back, but it means the world to him, his father’s last gift to him before dying of cancer. Webb’s stepfather has tormented him and made life at home untenable, but evil is also afoot in Yellowknife in the form of psychopathic Brent Melrose. After facing Brent, walking 110 kilometers through a “bear-filled, wolf-infested, roadless wilderness” won’t seem so bad. But it is bad, and Webb begins to see the wisdom in his grandfather’s favorite Nietzsche quotation: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Brouwer weaves twin narratives to good effect, a present-tense story of Webb’s attempt to solve his grandfather’s mystery at Mile 112, and flashbacks that inform readers as to why Webb is on the journey in the first place. Part of a seven-novel series with simultaneous release dates, this volume is especially targeted at boys looking for action and suspense. A likable guitar-playing protagonist is a bonus.

Unlike Webb, readers can face grizzly bears, wolves and psychopaths in the cozy confines of a good book. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55469-938-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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AKATA WITCH

Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu’s childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-670-01196-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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Readers who don’t need endings tied up with tight little bows will find much to think about here.

INFINITE SKY

Tragedy emerges from the commonplace miseries of everyday life in this evocative mood piece.

Thirteen-year-old Iris lives with her dad and older brother, Sam, in rural England. Until recently, Iris and Sam had a mum as well, but she’s taken off to Tunisia on a mission to find herself. Now Sam’s associating with ruffians, Dad’s taken to drinking, and Iris is avoiding her best friend, unable to bear the smug pity. When a few caravans of Irish “travelers” squat illegally in Dad’s paddock, Iris sees the possibility of something fresh and untainted in her life. But Dad and Sam loathe the travelers, calling them “Gypsies,” “parasites” and worse. Iris strikes up a friendship—and maybe more?—with 14-year-old Trick, but her father becomes increasingly erratic as he sees his control over his family slipping away. Her Dad repeatedly threatens eviction, and Iris must decide whom to believe in the face of petty crime. A senseless act of violence leads to heavily foreshadowed tragedy. This brief, gloomy debut concludes tidily though with an unclear trajectory: After a summer’s adventure, everyone’s right where they started yet nothing’s the same, mirroring the intransigence of hate.

Readers who don’t need endings tied up with tight little bows will find much to think about here. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0658-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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