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POP GIRL

Sweet as a sticky piece of bubble gum.

Scottish teen singer Storm writes what she knows in this thinly fictionalized account of a Glasgow girl who turns overnight pop star.

Thirteen-year-old Storm Hall knows she is destined to be a famous singer. But when her shot at a school choir solo is squashed by her family’s Hawaiian vacation plans, she makes the best of it by lending her pipes to Wewehi, an up-and-coming Hawaiian band. Wewehi’s single featuring Storm’s vocals is noticed by pop sensation Ivy Baxter, who immediately invites Storm to open one of her concerts. This leads to the kind of instant notoriety that most teenagers can only dream of, but Storm’s happiness is tempered by the discovery that her best friend is dating the boy she (maybe) likes. Savvy students of global pop will quickly make the connection between Storm’s story and the author’s own real-life rise to stardom after she slipped a recording of her music to Elton John. Written in Storm’s kinetic first-person, present-tense voice, and interspersed with tweets and gossip blog posts, this breezy, of-the-moment title pleasantly passes time even if it’s not likely to stand the test of it. Though the one-note plot is pure wish fulfillment, starry-eyed readers may enjoy immersing themselves in the details of Storm’s publicity and personal styling.

Sweet as a sticky piece of bubble gum. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-338-11382-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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BAMBOO PEOPLE

Well-educated American boys from privileged families have abundant options for college and career. For Chiko, their Burmese counterpart, there are no good choices. There is never enough to eat, and his family lives in constant fear of the military regime that has imprisoned Chiko’s physician father. Soon Chiko is commandeered by the army, trained to hunt down members of the Karenni ethnic minority. Tai, another “recruit,” uses his streetwise survival skills to help them both survive. Meanwhile, Tu Reh, a Karenni youth whose village was torched by the Burmese Army, has been chosen for his first military mission in his people’s resistance movement. How the boys meet and what comes of it is the crux of this multi-voiced novel. While Perkins doesn’t sugarcoat her subject—coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society—this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, “What is it like to be a child soldier?” clearly, but with hope. (author’s note, historical note) (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58089-328-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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