Love conquers all in this big-hearted and heartbreaking story of Martha, Tug and their errant father who, in time, stops...

MOON PIE

British author Mason has conjured a rarity indeed—a tremendously charming, unflinching account of a parent’s downward spiral.

Eleven-year-old Martha Luna can’t stand it anymore. Her widowed father’s been acting strange in recent months—rather like a wild gibbon—and her 5-year-old brother Tug (“famous for eating and a trick he did with spit”) isn’t helping. It’s on the über-responsible Martha’s to-do list to “Check Dad (more than once, if necessary)”—but it takes a savvy outsider to help her see that her newly clownish, accident-prone father who rents pink limos and wakes her up for midnight picnics is not simply eccentric, but an alcoholic. Grandma (“scary in a well-spoken sort of way”) and Grandpa dutifully take care of the children while Dad’s in rehab, but sanity comes in the delightfully improbable form of a flamboyant, cross-dressing 12-year-old filmmaker named Marcus who offers Martha practical advice and starring roles in his speed films of “golden classics.” While the dialogue is realistic and rat-a-tat-tat quick, lyrical prose wends its way throughout, and Martha, in a sea of moods, compares the moon to everything from a stain to a bit of bone.

Love conquers all in this big-hearted and heartbreaking story of Martha, Tug and their errant father who, in time, stops acting like a wild gibbon and finds his way home. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-385-75235-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A perfectly acceptable and predictable trifle. (Science fiction. 9-12)

HOUSE OF ROBOTS

From the House of Robots series , Vol. 1

Sammy is less than thrilled when his genius inventor mother creates a robot brother for him.

Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez's life has always been filled with robots. His mother has invented automatons that clean the floors, mow the lawn, give traffic reports and even plant fantastic gardens. Sammy's school has until now been a robot-free zone, but when Mom invents E (for Egghead, or maybe Einstein Jr.—his parents can’t decide) and insists Sammy take the new robot to school, things get out of hand. Chronicling the ups and downs of an entire school year with a robot brother, the authors put cute sci-fi twists on first-time crushes, school bullies and best-friend troubles. There's nothing here that breaks new ground or illuminates the psyche of young boys in any new or interesting ways, but there are plenty of amusing jokes. Young readers with an interest in science will certainly be engaged. A subplot featuring Sammy's younger sister, a brilliant girl who is homebound by severe combined immunodeficiency disorder, is as by-the-numbers as the rest of the book, but it doesn't tie in to the robot plot until the very end. It's hard to tell if this development is a clumsy climax or an awkward setup for a sequel. Either way, it doesn't work well with everything that came beforehand.

A perfectly acceptable and predictable trifle.  (Science fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-40591-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2015

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