A hilarious, heartwarming, and absolutely unmissable sequel.

SAL & GABI FIX THE UNIVERSE

From the Sal and Gabi series , Vol. 2

The continued multiverse adventures of Sal Vidón and Gabi Reál.

It’s been three weeks since Sal and Gabi saved the life of Gabi’s newborn brother, Iggy, and everything seems to be back to normal—or at least as normal as possible with a potentially broken universe. Then Sal’s calamity-physicist father and Gabi’s Dad: The Final Frontier finish work on their remembranation machine, which they hope will fix the holes in the universe created in the Pura Belpré–winning Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (2019)—but has become sentient artificial intelligence in the process. As if that were not enough, Sal’s unlikely new friend, Yasmany, seems to have gone missing, and a Gabi from another universe shows up to warn Sal that Papi’s research has destroyed her world and killed her own Sal and that they must stop his version of Papi from doing the same. This excellent sequel features nonstop multiverse hijinks, great comedy, and heartening moments that are skillfully interwoven with a subplot that features a delightfully surreal student production of Alice in Wonderland—er, “Alicia” in “el pais de las maravillas.” The supporting cast includes a plethora of nurturing adults as well as amusingly melodramatic AI’s. Most characters are Cuban American, and Hernandez continues to effortlessly incorporate intersectionalities, including Gabi’s loving polyamorous family and Sal’s Type 1 diabetes and his aromantic identity.

A hilarious, heartwarming, and absolutely unmissable sequel. (Science fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02283-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror.

THE ICKABOG

Rowling buffs up a tale she told her own children about a small, idyllic kingdom nearly destroyed by corrupt officials.

In the peaceful land of Cornucopia, the Ickabog has always been regarded as a legendary menace until two devious nobles play so successfully on the fears of naïve King Fred the Fearless that the once-prosperous land is devastated by ruinous taxes supposedly spent on defense while protesters are suppressed and the populace is terrorized by nighttime rampages. Pastry chef Bertha Beamish organizes a breakout from the local dungeon just as her son, Bert, and his friend Daisy Dovetail arrive…with the last Ickabog, who turns out to be real after all. Along with full plates of just deserts for both heroes and villains, the story then dishes up a metaphorical lagniappe in which the monster reveals the origins of the human race. The author frames her story as a set of ruminations on how evil can grow and people can come to believe unfounded lies. She embeds these themes in an engrossing, tightly written adventure centered on a stomach-wrenching reign of terror. The story features color illustrations by U.S. and Canadian children selected through an online contest. Most characters are cued as White in the text; a few illustrations include diverse representation.

Gripping and pretty dark—but, in the end, food, family, friendship, and straight facts win out over guile, greed, and terror. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-73287-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child...

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES

A San Diego preteen learns that she’s an elf, with a place in magic school if she moves to the elves’ hidden realm.

Having felt like an outsider since a knock on the head at age 5 left her able to read minds, Sophie is thrilled when hunky teen stranger Fitz convinces her that she’s not human at all and transports her to the land of Lumenaria, where the ageless elves live. Taken in by a loving couple who run a sanctuary for extinct and mythical animals, Sophie quickly gathers friends and rivals at Foxfire, a distinctly Hogwarts-style school. She also uncovers both clues to her mysterious origins and hints that a rash of strangely hard-to-quench wildfires back on Earth are signs of some dark scheme at work. Though Messenger introduces several characters with inner conflicts and ambiguous agendas, Sophie herself is more simply drawn as a smart, radiant newcomer who unwillingly becomes the center of attention while developing what turn out to be uncommonly powerful magical abilities—reminiscent of the younger Harry Potter, though lacking that streak of mischievousness that rescues Harry from seeming a little too perfect. The author puts her through a kidnapping and several close brushes with death before leaving her poised, amid hints of a higher destiny and still-anonymous enemies, for sequels.

Wholesome shading to bland, but well-stocked with exotic creatures and locales, plus an agreeable cast headed by a child who, while overly fond of screaming, rises to every challenge. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4593-2

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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