Tasty in bits, but even Pottermanes may find this indigestible in quantity.

THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER HOGWARTS HANDBOOK

MUGGLENET'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE WIZARDING WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SCHOOL

From the Unofficial Harry Potter Reference Library series

Everything entering students need to know, from class and holiday schedules to notable ghosts and headmasters and headmistresses.

Compiled by a team of MuggleNet editors, this fourth annual entry in the Unofficial Harry Potter Reference Library mines the Potterverse’s books, films, games, discussion boards, and possibly even pensieves for fictive “facts” about the school’s buildings, grounds, curriculum, history, and prominent residents—living and otherwise. The entries are thoroughly spoileriffic, but that hardly matters as there are no illustrations, and only rabid fans are going to last long plowing through wearisomely detailed prose descriptions of the Hogwarts crest and official song, the castle’s common rooms and corridors…not to mention numerous exhaustive lists, from the names and injuries of everyone ever sent to the hospital wing and every offense, real or imagined, for which students were docked points to all the shops and inns in the adjacent village of Hogsmeade. The content is unsourced and neither indexed nor systematically organized. Still, readers who would delight in seeing the Battle of Hogwarts recapped as a timeline along with, for instance, learning where Hogwarts is and how it got its name will be in their glory. As in the original series, the cast’s racial makeup defaults to White.

Tasty in bits, but even Pottermanes may find this indigestible in quantity. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-948174-95-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Media Lab Books

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Energizing and compassionate.

OBIE IS MAN ENOUGH

An aspiring transgender Junior Olympian swimmer finds the strength and pride in his identity to race toward his dreams in this debut coming-of-age novel by groundbreaking trans athlete Bailar.

Starting over after his abusive and discriminatory swim coach excluded him from the team, Obie Chang, a biracial (White/Korean) transgender boy worries about catching up to the other boys and proving that he is “man enough.” Although his family supports him, one of his best friends at school and the pool has turned into his biggest bully, and the other is drifting away toward the mean, popular girls. As he dives from the blocks into the challenging waters of seventh grade and swims toward his goal of qualifying for the Junior Olympics, Obie discovers belonging in his community and in himself. Affirming adults—including his parents and grandparents, a new swim coach, and his favorite teacher—play significant supporting roles by offering encouragement without pressure, centering Obie’s feelings, and validating Obie’s right to set his own boundaries. Vulnerable first-person narration explores Obie’s internal conflict about standing up for himself and his desire to connect to his Korean heritage through his relationship with Halmoni, his paternal grandmother. A romance with Charlie, a cisgender biracial (Cuban/White) girl, is gentle and privacy-affirming. Short chapters and the steady pace of external tension balance moments of rumination, grounding them in the ongoing action of Obie’s experiences.

Energizing and compassionate. (author's note, resources, glossary) (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37946-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A satisfying, winning read.

Our Verdict

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

BOOKED

Nick Hall is a bright eighth-grader who would rather do anything other than pay attention in class.

Instead he daydreams about soccer, a girl he likes, and an upcoming soccer tournament. His linguistics-professor father carefully watches his educational progress, requiring extra reading and word study, much to Nick’s chagrin and protest. Fortunately, his best friend, Coby, shares his passion for soccer—and, sadly, the unwanted attention of twin bullies in their school. Nick senses something is going on with his parents, but their announcement that they are separating is an unexpected blow: “it’s like a bombshell / drops / right in the center / of your heart / and it splatters / all across your life.” The stress leads to counseling, and his life is further complicated by injury and emergency surgery. His soccer dream derailed, Nick turns to the books he has avoided and finds more than he expected. Alexander’s highly anticipated follow-up to Newbery-winning The Crossover is a reflective narrative, with little of the first book’s explosive energy. What the mostly free-verse novel does have is a likable protagonist, great wordplay, solid teen and adult secondary characters, and a clear picture of the challenges young people face when self-identity clashes with parental expectations. The soccer scenes are vivid and will make readers wish for more, but the depiction of Nick as he unlocks his inner reader is smooth and believable.

A satisfying, winning read. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-57098-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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