An insightful, engaging tale that celebrates the relationship that sisters share.

THE SISTER SOLUTION

Having a genius for a sister is a trial for eighth-grader Sammi.

Sammi and Jorgianna are as opposite as their nicknames: Moonbeam and Sunbeam, respectively. Longing to fit in with the popular crowd, Sammi is mystified by her younger sister’s staunchly independent approach to fashion and is envious of her intellectual accomplishments. For Sammi, acceptance by popular girl Patrice represents achieving the pinnacle of popularity at her middle school. When Jorgianna is advanced to eighth grade midyear, Sammi fears her plans for social success will fall apart, especially as Jorgianna rapidly gains admittance into Patrice’s group. Making matters worse, Sammi incurs Patrice’s ire when Sammi’s relationship with Noah, Patrice’s crush, begins to blossom. Soon the sisters are in conflict with each other and mired in Patrice’s subterfuge and schemes. Trueit explores the challenges of the middle school social scene, keenly capturing the girls’ uncertainties. Delving into the complexity of the relationship between sisters, she examines both girls’ perspectives, with each sister contributing to the narrative in alternating chapters. While Sammi struggles with her feelings of mediocrity in the wake of Jorgianna’s exceptional intelligence, Jorgianna also struggles with the isolation she feels as a result of her intellect. As the girls try to discover how to be true to themselves, they ultimately recognize that their best allies are each other.

An insightful, engaging tale that celebrates the relationship that sisters share. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3240-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay.

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GHOST

From the Track series , Vol. 1

Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw feels like he’s been running ever since his dad pulled that gun on him and his mom—and used it.

His dad’s been in jail three years now, but Ghost still feels the trauma, which is probably at the root of the many “altercations” he gets into at middle school. When he inserts himself into a practice for a local elite track team, the Defenders, he’s fast enough that the hard-as-nails coach decides to put him on the team. Ghost is surprised to find himself caring enough about being on the team that he curbs his behavior to avoid “altercations.” But Ma doesn’t have money to spare on things like fancy running shoes, so Ghost shoplifts a pair that make his feet feel impossibly light—and his conscience correspondingly heavy. Ghost’s narration is candid and colloquial, reminiscent of such original voices as Bud Caldwell and Joey Pigza; his level of self-understanding is both believably childlike and disarming in its perception. He is self-focused enough that secondary characters initially feel one-dimensional, Coach in particular, but as he gets to know them better, so do readers, in a way that unfolds naturally and pleasingly. His three fellow “newbies” on the Defenders await their turns to star in subsequent series outings. Characters are black by default; those few white people in Ghost’s world are described as such.

An endearing protagonist runs the first, fast leg of Reynolds' promising relay. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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