GET IT WHILE IT'S HOT. OR NOT.

Hobbs (How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadn't Called You Back?, 1995) takes on a sheaf of hot topics in this soapy, overstuffed tale of three friends helping a fourth who has a penchant for making bad choices. When Kit announces that she's four months pregnant and has to stay in bed, Megan, Mia, and Elaine rally around. For the privilege of waiting on her passive, fretful friend, Megan cuts class, sneaks out at night, and lies to her parents, while also fending off the physical advances of her boyfriend, fixing up Mia with her older brother, writing an inflammatory article (much of it quoted) for the school newspaper on safe and unsafe sex, engaging in a one-sided debate on the availability of condoms at school, and learning that the baby's football-hero father is HIV- positive. Amid much soul-searching, Megan becomes celebrated for defiantly distributing copies of her article after it is axed, and gets Kit to the hospital when she collapses. The baby is delivered, but between her manipulative mother and boozy grandmother, her future looks bleak. Having given the father what he deserves, Hobbs parks him on the sidelines and gives Kit short shrift, too, as Megan, Mia, and Elaine float off to the prom. Some food for thought, dished out with a heavy hand. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-531-09540-1

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

After Hitler appoints Bruno’s father commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno (nine) is unhappy with his new surroundings compared to the luxury of his home in Berlin. The literal-minded Bruno, with amazingly little political and social awareness, never gains comprehension of the prisoners (all in “striped pajamas”) or the malignant nature of the death camp. He overcomes loneliness and isolation only when he discovers another boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp’s fence. For months, the two meet, becoming secret best friends even though they can never play together. Although Bruno’s family corrects him, he childishly calls the camp “Out-With” and the Fuhrer “Fury.” As a literary device, it could be said to be credibly rooted in Bruno’s consistent, guileless characterization, though it’s difficult to believe in reality. The tragic story’s point of view is unique: the corrosive effect of brutality on Nazi family life as seen through the eyes of a naïf. Some will believe that the fable form, in which the illogical may serve the objective of moral instruction, succeeds in Boyle’s narrative; others will believe it was the wrong choice. Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-75106-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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

LEGEND

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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