CLOAKED IN RED

The opening salvo is an author’s note in which veteran writer Vande Velde neatly deconstructs and skewers the original Little Red Riding Hood story—and then proceeds to write eight variations on it. Each begins with tongue stuffed in cheek: “Once upon a time, after fashion was discovered but before people had makeovers on TV”; “Once upon a time, before online dating services....” Other tales appear now and then, too, as in “The Little Red Headache,” told from the wolf’s point of view, in which he is haunted by a dream of three little pigs, or “Deems the Wood Gatherer,” whose neighbor’s house looks entirely like a baked treat. “Little Red Riding Hood’s Family” not only provides readers with a Granny who is a (were)wolf but also pokes pointedly at the whole glittery vampire thing. The red riding hood itself has a spell and a story of its own, the last told with a delicious connection to "a certain superhero" in a time not so very long ago. Lightweight but cozy and versatile, it's much funnier than the solemn cover lets on. (Fractured fairy tales. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5793-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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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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TRASH

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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