THE CHANGELING

However palpable, Zilpha Snyder's world is always at an intriguing remove from reality; and when, as in The Egypt Game, her characters plunge intensely into make-believe, there are few girls who will not plummet after. Although—or perhaps because—divested of its strange, prickling nimbus, this becomes the transformation of fat, seven-year-old Marty Mouse, the nonentity in a self-assured, preoccupied household, into beautiful blonde Martha Abbott, the Sophomore "who's in all the school plays." Meanwhile Ivy Carson, self-proclaimed changeling, can't escape the family reputation for shiftlessness and worse. Their affinity is most firmly forged in play-acting the Tree People, an evasion for Ivy but a catharsis for Martha who masters the meanest role. Repeatedly the Carsons leave under a cloud only to return, and increasingly Martha is torn between loyalty to Ivy and the past, and the social pressures/ lures of the present. In eighth grade Ivy would pledge them not to grow up—to "Know all the Questions, but not the Answers—Look for the Different, instead of the Same—Never Walk when there's room for Running—Don't do anything that can't be a Game." But when she beats out contemptuous Kelly Peters for the lead dancer's role in the school play, the sky falls: Kelly accuses Ivy and Martha of vandalism and only brother Tom Abbott's disclosure that he was in the raid led by a 'respectable' dope-pushing classmate clears them. It is the turning point for Martha, the Abbotts becoming more attentive, less complacent, and the vanishing point for Ivy—a subsequent letter tells that she's in New York studying dancing; it is also the weakest point in the book. But once magicked, the reader is not to be dislodged by a topical intrusion or a Cinderella (re)version.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 1979

ISBN: 0595321801

Page Count: 227

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1970

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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