A smart choice for teen readers.

NemeSIS

In Marshall’s first novel, a determined girl makes it through 10th grade despite her bully of a sister.

Lonely Nadine Stewart has a mouse for a friend and little else. Her parents have divorced, with her father settling in New York and taking a new girlfriend; her mother’s out of the house most of the time working on her real estate license. Her older sister, Rachel, is more or less her constant companion, and often an unwanted one. Her intense mood swings get in the way of Nadine’s desire to pull herself out of her misery and make friends, maybe even date. When Rachel feels bad, she makes sure Nadine feels worse—and she’s very inventive. Nadine is very good at keeping her cool: “It was all I could do not to react, but I had this whole routine going where I took cleansing breaths to stay calm. It’s like what you do when you meditate.” As she decides to start moving forward with her life, Nadine makes serious progress. She meets Anne, a transfer student with twin older brothers, and gets a spot on the field hockey team. All the while, though, she contends with the secret of Rachel’s bullying as well as with other bullies. When she finds the support and the strength to stand up to her sister, Nadine is surprised at just what happens. Marshall has written a rare book: a YA novel in which serious themes—divorce, isolation, mental health, bullying, etc.—are considered without admonishing readers or beating them over the head with lessons. Instead, readers progress through sophomore year with Nadine, sharing her daily discouragements and small triumphs. The recurrence of certain problems is only natural; they’re part of Nadine’s experience, after all. On top of that, Marshall accurately portrays the relative gravity of teenage crushes and friend-group drama—heavy considerations for the high school crowd.

A smart choice for teen readers.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Blue Moon

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more