Appropriately provocative.


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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With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find...


Six middle schoolers + mad scientists + Everglades = adventure.

Cat, along with five other children who have suffered head injuries, goes to what is billed as the pre-eminent neurological center in the world, the International Center for Advanced Neurology, located in the Everglades. At first, she receives excellent care, but she soon overhears an ominous conversation that leads to her discovery of the awful truth: The terrible Dr. Ames and his colleague intend to implant the children with the DNA of long-dead scientists, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Marie Curie and even Leonardo da Vinci. Worse, they learn that Trent, who has already received a transplant, has virtually become Thomas Edison. Trent not only has Edison’s DNA, he has Edison’s century-old memories and speech patterns. Cat and her friends seize an opportunity to escape, relying on Trent’s technical expertise and “inherited” memory to evade the bad guys. As she outlines in her author’s note, Messner follows good science in her descriptions of head-injury treatment; she also gives teachers opportunities to explore the differences between hereditary and acquired characteristics in her more fictional genetic “science.” Her characterizations are solid and age-appropriate; Trent, as young Thomas Edison still avidly working on alternating currents, supplies some laughs.

With plenty of thrills, friendship, some humor, intrigue and an easy good-guys/bad-guys escape plot, young readers will find lots of fun here. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2314-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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An impressive sequel.


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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