Even Anglophiles should take pause.


If you meet your double, does it mean one of you must die?

It’s 1936, and the youngest member of the Star Turn troupe of British juvenile performers, Ollie Pigott, sees what looks like his twin in the window of a passing train. Could it be his double, or is it just his reflection? Ollie has more pressing problems, like trying to get out of his father’s acting troupe by learning acrobatics (which will also effect an escape from his father’s abuse), so he quickly moves on. American Ralph Halvern, the boy on the other train, is the bored son of a Hollywood movie star, and he immediately becomes obsessed with his look-alike. With the help of the annoying Giselle, a puzzlingly footloose French girl, he slips away from his tutor to search for the face in the window. If the two ever meet, how will their lives change? This taxing historical mystery comes directly from England and is densely flavored with slang; though there is a glossary, it is aimed at modern British children (“Yard: An old measurement…Just under a metre”) and does little to illuminate American readers. The excruciatingly slow plot doesn’t begin until page 70, and the subsequent scenes of mistaken identity quickly become tiresome. What could have been an interesting riff on The Prince and the Pauper with a nice surprise twist instead plays fast and loose with readers’ credulity to a shameful extent.

Even Anglophiles should take pause. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-908458-16-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Inside Pocket

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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