Fast-paced and funny with brief but crucial hiccups of legal learning.

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QUID PRO QUO

In a narrative laced with lighthearted and self-deprecating humor, 14-year-old Cyril MacIntyre relates a crime story disguised as a lesson in legal terminology.

Cyril’s young, tough-talking single mother, Andy, incorporates Cyril into everything she does, including taking him to law school when he was 10 and installing him as receptionist for the two-woman law firm she lands at. When Byron Cuvelier, a one-handed man who shares a mysterious past with Andy, shows up and moves in with them, it’s clearly blackmail as far as Cyril is concerned. So when Andy disappears, that naturally sets Cyril to sleuthing, and his secondhand legal training is just part of what he needs to unravel the case. (Each chapter is introduced by a legal term that sets up the action.) The story is set in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Cyril, Andy, and Byron are white, while Andy’s lawyer mentor is South Asian, and many among their clientele are minorities. The characters are not as simplistic as they initially seem, as first impressions are peeled away. Despite Cyril’s tough talk, the narrative is clearly intended for an audience that will expect and enjoy the rosy ending indicated by the confident tone throughout. (Amusingly, Andy’s cusswords are bleeped in the dialogue.) While the satisfying denouement doesn’t make complete sense in terms of the characters, it is completely in sync with the mood.

Fast-paced and funny with brief but crucial hiccups of legal learning. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1931-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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