A fitting, socially conscious sequel.

ALI CROSS

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

From the Ali Cross series , Vol. 2

Ali Cross sets out to solve another case that hits close to home.

Ali, son of Washington, D.C., detective Alex Cross, returns in a sequel to his 2019 outing that finds him in the thick of things when his crush, Zoe Knight, gets shot in a park. Middle schooler Ali is the closest thing there is to an eyewitness, though he didn’t even see the shooter’s face. Zoe knows who did it but strangely is keeping quiet. Still, Ali’s knack for investigation and his connection to Zoe propel him to pursue the case with the help of friends. Themes of activism, gun violence, and police bias are explored, with various complex sides to the issues being shared by different characters. Ali’s schoolmates become frustrated with the impact of gun violence on Black people and start demanding more accountability from the authorities. Meanwhile, Ali, the son of a homicide detective, finds himself in the middle of arguments about these topics while at times feeling his opinions are dismissed due to his father’s profession. Overall, this is a solid follow-up that shows Ali developing as a sleuth even as he’s a young boy trying to make sense of his world. Important messages regarding social justice are imparted, although the pacing sometimes feels rushed, taking away from the gravitas of certain moments. Overall, however, readers who enjoy stories of young detectives will be pleased. Ali and Zoe are Black.

A fitting, socially conscious sequel. (Mystery. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-50013-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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