A thrilling, harrowing account of disaster and heroism. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

THE FINEST HOURS

THE TRUE STORY OF A HEROIC SEA RESCUE

From the True Rescue series

Readers who appreciate a gripping survival tale will be spellbound by this fast-paced, action-packed account of a real-life disaster involving two tankers wrecked in a ferocious North Atlantic storm and the crews’ hair-raising, valiant rescue by the Coast Guard.

On Feb. 18, 1952, a savage nor’easter slammed 70-foot waves into the oil tankers Pendleton and Fort Mercer off the coast of Cape Cod, and both split in half, leaving their crews to the mercy of the raging storm. Only the Fort Mercer was able to send a distress call. The Coast Guard sent ships to aid the men, including three small crews in lifeboats. During the rescue of the Fort Mercer, the wreck of the Pendleton was discovered. The Coast Guardsmen valiantly rushed to save the men on four floating hulks, the stern and bow sections of each of the tankers. Using the tools of the novelist, the authors provide a vivid, moment-by-moment retelling, jumping from the Pendleton to the Fort Mercer to the Coast Guard in quick succession, drawing on the accounts of survivors and witnesses. Unfortunately, this quick pace sometimes makes it difficult to keep track of the characters as the narrative bounces back and forth between the two rescue efforts.

A thrilling, harrowing account of disaster and heroism. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9764-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven.

CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE

An aspiring scientist and a budding artist become friends and help each other with dream projects.

Unfolding in mid-1980s Sacramento, California, this story stars 12-year-olds Rosalind and Benjamin as first-person narrators in alternating chapters. Ro’s father, a fellow space buff, was killed by a drunk driver; the rocket they were working on together lies unfinished in her closet. As for Benji, not only has his best friend, Amir, moved away, but the comic book holding the clue for locating his dad is also missing. Along with their profound personal losses, the protagonists share a fixation with the universe’s intriguing potential: Ro decides to complete the rocket and hopes to launch mementos of her father into outer space while Benji’s conviction that aliens and UFOs are real compels his imagination and creativity as an artist. An accident in science class triggers a chain of events forcing Benji and Ro, who is new to the school, to interact and unintentionally learn each other’s secrets. They resolve to find Benji’s dad—a famous comic-book artist—and partner to finish Ro’s rocket for the science fair. Together, they overcome technical, scheduling, and geographical challenges. Readers will be drawn in by amusing and fantastical elements in the comic book theme, high emotional stakes that arouse sympathy, and well-drawn character development as the protagonists navigate life lessons around grief, patience, self-advocacy, and standing up for others. Ro is biracial (Chinese/White); Benji is White.

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-300888-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Moving and poetic.

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PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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