Readers will find this look at social media habits eye-opening and accessible.


A middle schooler unintentionally becomes complicit in cyberbullying.

Seventh grader Faith already feels uncomfortable at school, caught between a former friend, Tierra, who knows about her coding skills, and her popular new friends, Janelle and Adria. Then SlamBook, a social media version of the old-fashioned comment book, goes viral, and Faith’s first-person narration, driven by dialogue, chronicles its dangerous effects. At first only a few classmates are targeted and the comments seem harmless. When the comments turn vicious, ranging from body-shaming to racist attacks against Adria’s Filipinx background, Faith uses her coding skills to identify the offenders. (Faith and her other friends seem to be white.) And when she discovers that her once-friendly classmates are posting scathing remarks about one another under the cover of anonymity, she feels compelled to post her own biting comments. It’s a deserved revenge, and no one will know, right? And it’s not really cyberbullying as a poster suggests—or is it? Faith’s wavering sense of her culpability is spot-on realistic, as is one student’s anonymous threat of suicide after too many attacks. While readers can glean many lessons about the perils of social media, Faris never crosses into preachy territory, grounding characters in the tough decisions facing young girls today. In addition to Adria, Faith’s Asian coding mentor, Ms. Wang, brings further racial diversity to the story and acts as a welcome female STEM role model.

Readers will find this look at social media habits eye-opening and accessible. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4520-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...


Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

Did you like this book?


There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?