As with the first book, the fantasy hijinks are tempered with depth for a story that’s sweet but not saccharine

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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON HEART

Silke hopes to learn the fates of her missing parents in this companion to The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (2017).

Refugee Silke’s a bold, adventurous, cross-dressing 13-year-old who loves Drachenburg. And though she won’t admit it, she loves her friends who feel like family at the Chocolate Heart, including her dragon-turned-girl best friend, Aventurine—especially since she and her older brother have grown apart since her parents’ disappearance in Elfenwald six years ago. Silke’s narration captures a sadness that’s only partially camouflaged by her swaggering demeanor. One day, in order to save Aventurine from a mob, braggart Silke claims to work for the crown princess. The next day, the princess’s guards come for her…but Princess Katrin doesn’t want to punish Silke, she wants her to spy: After a century underground, a delegation from magical Elfenwald is coming to Drachenburg, and the princess wants to know why—and Silke sees an opportunity to solve her parents’ mystery. Silke tries to fit in at court as a royal cousin, but being a proper lady-in-waiting isn’t determined Silke’s forte, and soon her wits are put to the test when all of Drachenburg is endangered. Lovable and frustrating, black-presenting Silke’s an entirely believable character; supporting characters are equally well-drawn, and Burgis’ world is a robustly diverse one.

As with the first book, the fantasy hijinks are tempered with depth for a story that’s sweet but not saccharine . (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-697-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning.

ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES

From the Pandava Quintet series , Vol. 3

In the third instalment of the Pandava Quartet, 14-year-old Arundhati “Aru” Shah and her companions need to defeat their archnemesis (and Aru’s father), the Sleeper, and prevent the impending war between the devas and asuras.

The novel opens with Aru and her friends on a mission to rescue two people from the Sleeper’s soldiers. The two people are 10-year-old identical twins and Pandavas Nikita and Sheela, trapped atop a Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta. This mission is of utmost importance because Sheela is a clairvoyant with an important prophecy, which speaks of the rise of the Sleeper and an untrue Pandava sister—and which the Sleeper must not hear at any cost. Despite their best efforts, however, one of the Sleeper’s soldiers overhears the prophecy, and Aru, Mini, Brynne, and Adin—accompanied by Rudy, a serpent prince—set off to find the missing Kalpavriksha, a wish-granting tree, so that they might wish upon it to set things right. Much like its predecessors, this fast-moving adventure draws on Hindu cosmology and South Asian pop-culture references to create an enchanting but believable magical Otherworld, where gods, demigods, demons, and talking animals abound. Chokshi’s novel is pitch perfect: The plot is action-packed, the dialogue witty, and the characters (almost all of whom are either Indian or part-Indian) are compelling, diverse, and complex.

Touching, riotously funny, and absolutely stunning. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-01385-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

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This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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