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ON ETRUSCAN TIME

Eleven-year-old Hector, spending the summer with his archaeologist mother at a dig near Florence, unearths a strange eye-shaped stone at the site of what was once an Etruscan village. The artifact brings on nightmares about Arath, who lived two thousand years ago and was in terrible danger. The stone transports both boys back and forth into each other’s time. In Etruscan time, “Heck,” invisible to everyone but Arath, is horrified to learn that the boy is to become a human sacrifice at the hands of a cruel relative. The story of how Hector works to foil the plot in the past and to make a remarkable discovery in the present, based on knowledge gleaned from his other-life experience, is fast-paced and suspenseful. The author imbues her fantasy with plausibility and peppers the text with fascinating shards of ancient history and archeology. A good read appended with an author’s note and Etruscan-English and Italian-English glossaries. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-7569-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2005

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THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER

From the Legendary Alston Boys series , Vol. 1

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative,...

Can this really be the first time readers meet the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County? Cousins and veteran sleuths Otto and Sheed Alston show us that we are the ones who are late to their greatness.

These two black boys are coming to terms with the end of their brave, heroic summer at Grandma’s, with a return to school just right around the corner. They’ve already got two keys to the city, but the rival Epic Ellisons—twin sisters Wiki and Leen—are steadily gaining celebrity across Logan County, Virginia, and have in hand their third key to the city. No way summer can end like this! These young people are powerful, courageous, experienced adventurers molded through their heroic commitment to discipline and deduction. They’ve got their shared, lifesaving maneuvers committed to memory (printed in a helpful appendix) and ready to save any day. Save the day they must, as a mysterious, bendy gentleman and an oversized, clingy platypus have been unleashed on the city of Fry, and all the residents and their belongings seem to be frozen in time and place. Will they be able to solve this one? With total mastery, Giles creates in Logan County an exuberant vortex of weirdness, where the commonplace sits cheek by jowl with the utterly fantastic, and populates it with memorable characters who more than live up to their setting.

This can’t be the last we ever hear of the Legendary Alston Boys of the purely surreal Logan County—imaginative, thrill-seeking readers, this is a series to look out for. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-46083-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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THE CONSPIRACY

From the Plot to Kill Hitler series , Vol. 1

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Near the end of World War II, two kids join their parents in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler.

Max, 12, lives with his parents and his older sister in a Berlin that’s under constant air bombardment. During one such raid, a mortally wounded man stumbles into the white German family’s home and gasps out his last wish: “The Führer must die.” With this nighttime visitation, Max and Gerta discover their parents have been part of a resistance cell, and the siblings want in. They meet a colorful band of upper-class types who seem almost too whimsical to be serious. Despite her charming levity, Prussian aristocrat and cell leader Frau Becker is grimly aware of the stakes. She enlists Max and Gerta as couriers who sneak forged identification papers to Jews in hiding. Max and Gerta are merely (and realistically) cogs in the adults’ plans, but there’s plenty of room for their own heroism. They escape capture, rescue each other when they’re caught out during an air raid, and willingly put themselves repeatedly at risk to catch a spy. The fictional plotters—based on a mix of several real anti-Hitler resistance cells—are portrayed with a genuine humor, giving them the space to feel alive even in such a slim volume.

It’s great to see these kids “so enthusiastic about committing high treason.” (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35902-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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