This fantasy relies on technology to stand out.


Teen misfits accidentally discover a portal to a dangerous fantasy world in this immersive book/app combo.

Bullied nerd-type Marshall and proudly nonconformist new girl Mayberry (white, relatively blank-slate characters) decide to investigate a local legend about a grove in the middle of a forest and the magical Wishing Tree in its center. They jokingly wish for a magical adventure in a new world and then fall asleep at the foot of the tree. Initially, it’s great fun, but soon they encounter a chain of life-threatening dangers and vicious creatures, the final one a violent Troll-man with a white human slave (readers will quickly make a connection with the prologue, undermining the characters’ discovery later in the book). The villainous Troll-man teaches the teens magic in order to make them tools in his plan, the goal of which is murder and conquest. While the earlier parts of the adventure read like a walking tour and introduction to the land and its inhabitants, a later storyline—to save the other human—is where the story really picks up steam. The ending leaves plenty of wiggle room for other adventures in the magic world, Nith, as well as possible mishaps with powerful magical objects. The book will release alongside an app that uses a smartphone’s camera and the book’s illustrations to “create” 3-D animated models; it also gives bonus world information in the form of Mayberry’s diary, with planned additional interactive features. (The preview app consists of clean, high-quality sample character models and animation based on the full-color images; most full-color images not seen but likely will be the base of the full app’s materials.)

This fantasy relies on technology to stand out. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17689-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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