An engaging sports-infused mystery for reluctant readers.

NAME YOUR MOUNTAIN

From the PathFinders series

A Choctaw high school student named Bobby tries to help his best friend when his family is under attack.

Oklahoma junior Bobby Byington plays basketball on two different teams: his school team, the Panthers, and a statewide, all-Indian team, the Achukmas. Bobby’s best friend is Johnny Mackey, a Cherokee teenager whose father is a prominent lawyer. An accident causes Mr. Mackey to fall off a ladder and end up in the hospital, but as the police investigate, it turns out to have been deliberate—and when the Mackeys’ house is firebombed, it’s clear they are at risk. While Johnny and his family hide out in a safe house, Bobby, alongside the detective on the case, wants to figure out who is responsible. The police take the original incident seriously and cooperate with the Native characters to find the people responsible. By working together with his friend Lloyd and with the help of the Achukmas’ Coach Robison, Bobby puts himself in harm’s way to discover the truth. Refreshingly, the book normalizes male characters’ close friendships and displays of emotion, tying into Tingle’s (Choctaw) mountain metaphor: We encounter challenges every day, but they do not need to be climbed alone. The text uses basketball to emphasize the importance of teamwork both on and off the court.

An engaging sports-infused mystery for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-939053-20-6

Page Count: 168

Publisher: 7th Generation

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Will both entertain and encourage reflection.

CINDERELLA IS DEAD

In Mersailles, “Cinderella” is more than just a fairy tale: It’s the basis for a harsh monarch’s throttlehold on his kingdom.

Sophia is turning 16, the age at which young women must attend King Manford’s annual ball, at which they are scrutinized by and married off to male attendees. Any young woman who has not been claimed after her third ball is destined to spend the rest of her days engaged in hard labor. But being chosen can be its own curse in a society where domestic violence is common. Sophia is a beautiful Black girl in love with dark-haired Erin, one of her best friends. While racial diversity is a natural part of this world, the same acceptance does not exist for those who defy rigid gender norms: Anything other than heterosexual desire is strictly forbidden, and while Sophia wishes to escape as a couple, Erin is too fearful. After fleeing the ball, Sophia stumbles across Cinderella’s mausoleum, hidden in the woods. There she meets rebellious Constance, an attractive young red-haired woman with a very personal motivation for sabotaging the monarchy. As the two grew closer—and sparks fly—they discover secrets that could end Manford’s cruel reign. This promising debut deals with themes around rebellion and empowerment as well as the toll that rejecting the status quo can take on relationships. The atmospheric setting is a particular strength, and the twists and turns will keep readers in suspense.

Will both entertain and encourage reflection. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0387-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

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Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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