Appropriately provocative.

ME AND BANKSY

When her school’s state-of-the-art security system becomes a vehicle for cyberbullying, a fan of the activist artist launches a rebellion.

Dominica, 13, is an aspiring artist from a white, affluent Vancouver, British Columbia, family. Her widowed mother runs a catering business; her grandmother, an art gallery owner, pays the hefty tuition for Dom’s private school, where cameras were recently installed throughout, an initiative to keep students safe (the school’s Latin motto translates as “security breeds success”). After the security system’s hacked, embarrassing, edited videos of individuals, including Dom, are posted to the school’s student forum. She’s forbidden a social media account, but that doesn’t prevent Dom’s exposure on others’ social media feeds. PixSnappy alerts her when she’s tagged: “see what your friends are up to.” The school eliminates its student forum; the cameras remain. Dom mounts secret, Banksy-inspired critiques of the surveillance, illustrating how privacy erosion facilitates cyberbullying. Meanwhile, her friends help her seek the culprit. If some adult characters’ motives seem far-fetched, the students’ powerful, emotional reactions to the amplified victimization are entirely credible. The mystery of who’s behind the hacking (and their motives) holds readers’ interest. When solved, questions linger: What should happen to impulsive words and acts recorded, altered, and immortalized on social media? How much privacy are we willing to surrender for the promise of safety and security? Kyi’s nonfiction exploration of high-tech spying, Eyes and Spies (2017), makes a natural companion.

Appropriately provocative. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6691-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Puffin/Penguin Random House Canada

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star.

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DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP

A teenager faces seemingly insurmountable challenges in this riveting modern-day spinoff of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

For Ana Dakkar and her fellow ninth graders at Harding-Pencroft Academy, there is nothing more momentous than the weekend trials each student must ace at the end of freshman year. Students who fail to showcase their survival skills are asked to leave the academy, a heavily guarded place Ana has thought of as home since the mysterious deaths of her parents. Though Ana’s brother, Dev, is a senior, what happens at trials is such a closely guarded secret that no one in her year knows what to expect. While her group is out on the water for their trials, Harding-Pencroft is demolished in an attack orchestrated by a rival school. As Ana and her classmates discover that the events depicted in Jules Verne’s classic novels were real, Riordan’s lifelong love of the source material is clear—especially when Ana learns information that will help her find a way to protect the group. A foreword by Roshani Chokshi introduces this adventure that is both great entertainment and centers a well-developed protagonist who is thoughtfully shown dealing with loss. Ana is of Bundeli Indian descent, and her group of peers, who are diverse in various ways, experience losses and struggles of their own. (Final illustrations not seen.)

A riveting novel that will have readers rooting for its star. (Harding-Pencroft Academy guide, cast list) (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07792-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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An impressive sequel.

PAX, JOURNEY HOME

Boy and fox follow separate paths in postwar rebuilding.

A year after Peter finds refuge with former soldier Vola, he prepares to leave to return to his childhood home. He plans to join the Junior Water Warriors, young people repurposing the machines and structures of war to reclaim reservoirs and rivers poisoned in the conflict, and then to set out on his own to live apart from others. At 13, Peter is competent and self-contained. Vola marvels at the construction of the floor of the cabin he’s built on her land, but the losses he’s sustained have left a mark. He imposes a penance on himself, reimagining the story of rescuing the orphaned kit Pax as one in which he follows his father’s counsel to kill the animal before he could form a connection. He thinks of his heart as having a stone inside it. Pax, meanwhile, has fathered three kits who claim his attention and devotion. Alternating chapters from the fox’s point of view demonstrate Pax’s care for his family—his mate, Bristle; her brother; and the three kits. Pax becomes especially attached to his daughter, who accompanies him on a journey that intersects with Peter’s and allows Peter to not only redeem his past, but imagine a future. This is a deftly nuanced look at the fragility and strength of the human heart. All the human characters read as White. Illustrations not seen.

An impressive sequel. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-293034-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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