TRANSCENDER

FIRST-TIMER: TRANSCENDER TRILOGY BOOK 1

A modern-day Connecticut teenager suddenly shifts dimensions into an alternative America where she finds herself in the body of a love-struck princess in a danger-prone kingdom of intrigues, outlaws and strange creatures.

Jade Beckett is a 17-year-old Connecticut girl still recovering emotionally from the recent cancer death of her mom when a freak storm whisks her into a parallel existence. Jade is an unknowing “transcender,” a person with an innate ability to shift between timelines in presumably infinite alternate realities. Now she’s “Princess Jaden,” imperiled royalty in a strange counterpart of Earth that was devastated by a comet collision hundreds of years ago. Humanity’s tenuous survival has turned civilization into a semifeudal, semitechnological world of quibbling domed city-states. Jaden is immediately embroiled in intrigues between the assorted monarchies as well as delirious, virginity-threatening romance with her true soul mate, Ryder, a hunky half-Cherokee chief-in-training from an apparently enemy nation. Along with this comes the side benefit/curse that Jaden’s mother is alive in this universe, but she’s an imperious queen who treats Ryder the way the Sheriff of Nottingham regarded Robin Hood. Furthermore a mysterious “agent” from a largely unseen transdimensional regulation group keeps reminding Jade(n) that her presence here is a cosmic fluke and that she will have to put aside Ryder and her mom and return home once the agency patches things up. It all ends in a cliffhanger that should keep involved readers salivating for the next installment. Savage is a skilled storyteller (if a little heavy on the pacing and dialogue side), and she knows her stuff well enough to effectively tease the demographic with a subtle Twilight inside-joke. It’s a good move that the Savage fantasy world depicted is no Disney-storybook landscape of unicorns, faeries and mermaids (though elflike mutants and other crypto-creatures make somewhat puzzling cameos). Jade is a likable, media-savvy heroine, even granted that her tae kwon do powers tend to wax and wane as a given situation or abduction demands. There are a plethora of walk-on side characters (oftentimes curvy, gorgeous, potential-rival teen-queens) whose full roles in the drama presumably unfold in upcoming Transcender books, and fans who follow this story to its climax will welcome those installments. While a little slow and formulaic in fits, this girl-power jaunt into high adventure and romance in a parallel universe launches a promising new trilogy in YA fantasy.

 

Pub Date: July 21, 2011

ISBN: B005DR94EI

Page Count: 449

Publisher: Vicky Savage

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

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HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!

Another Seuss-chimera joins the ranks of the unforgettable Herlar and with the advent of the Grinch— a sort of Yule Ghoul who lives in a cave just north of who-ville. While all the Who's made ready on Christmas Eve the Grinch donned a Santa-Claus disguise. In gurgling verse at a galloping gait, we learn how the Grinch stole the "presents, the ribbons, the wrappings, the tags, the tinsel and trappings," from all the Who's. But the Grinch's heart (two sizes too small) melted just in time when he realized that the Who's enjoyed Christmas without any externals. Youngsters will be in transports over the goofy gaiety of Dr. Seuss's first book about a villain — easily the best Christmas-cad since Scrooge. Inimitable Seuss illustrations of the Grinch's dog Max disguised as a reindeer are in black and white with touches of red. Irrepressible and irresistible.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1957

ISBN: 0394800796

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1957

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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