A magical addition to any bookshelf.

THE SCHOOL BETWEEN WINTER AND FAIRYLAND

The care of magical creatures has never been so important.

You know that story about a boy hero who goes off to a school for magic? The one with the slightly aloof headmaster, the magical beasts, and the prophecy that says he’ll go up against a disembodied evil that might destroy him? This isn’t that story. Sure, all those elements are here: There’s a wunderkind, Cai Morrigan, and the Inglenook School of Magic, and there’s definitely a prophecy. But this story is about his self-proclaimed sidekick, Autumn Malog, a white-haired 12-year-old beastkeeper at the school who is desperately seeking clues into the mysterious disappearance of her twin brother, Winter. Autumn and Cai make a pact to help each other—she believes Winter is trapped inside the school, and Cai knows the castle better than anyone, and he is secretly afraid of dragons while Autumn has a gift with the beasts (she counts a boggart as her friend). That’s when the true magic begins. Fans of other boy wizards will be mesmerized by this original addition to the genre, and humor-loving readers will revel in the Diana Wynne Jones–style snark that’s interjected throughout. Themes of class, education, and equality are interwoven seamlessly, providing additional food for thought. Once readers are buried in the pages, they’ll beg to know when the sequels are coming out. Autumn Reads as White; Cai has light-brown skin.

A magical addition to any bookshelf. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304331-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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