An exceptional swan song for a beloved character.

NATE EXPECTATIONS

Attention theater nerds! Nate Foster has returned for one last encore.

Sadly, Nate’s return is not off to a promising start. His world is breaking apart. The not-really-a-hit E.T.: The Musical did not pick up any Tony nominations, and as Broadway babies know, this usually signals the end of most musical runs. As the show enters its final days, Nate must come to terms with returning home to Jankburg, Pennsylvania, saying goodbye to his aunt and NYC–guardian, Heidi, and leaving his crush (and make-out buddy) Jordan, the star of the show. Things may not be completely bleak, however. Once home, Nate is reunited with his best friend, Libby, and begins his new quest: high school, where his adventures include self-discovery, musical theater (duh), crushes, and coming out. Federle is in fine form here, and readers will laugh out loud at Nate’s adventures (and dramatics). The storyline may have matured along with Nate, but the tone is still fresh, irreverent, and over-the-top. Some subplots may be a skosh unrealistic—such as Nate’s near-total acceptance in his new school—but readers will likely forgive a point or two as the teen thespians mount a musical adaptation of Great Expectations. As enjoyable as Nate may be, the standout character of the book is Libby, whose Tina Fey–like humor and Oprah-like efficiency will have readers in stitches.

An exceptional swan song for a beloved character. (Fiction 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0412-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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TRASH

In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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