Lenny is thrown several curves as he solves the mystery and finds a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a friend in...

SAY IT AIN'T SO

From the Lenny & the Mikes series , Vol. 2

The second installment in the Lenny & the Mikes mysteries finds Lenny Norbeck and his friends Mike and Other Mike in seventh grade with a new case to solve.

Though starting catcher Davis Gannett has been kicked off the team for stealing a cellphone, and Mike has taken his place, Davis keeps showing up at games. As the season goes on, Lenny discovers that another team, Griffith Middle School, is stealing the catcher’s signs, allowing their hitters to know what pitches to expect. So when pitching star Hunter Ashwell starts losing games, panic is in the air, and Lenny has a new mystery to solve. It’s not as dramatic as the murder mystery of the series opener, Strike Three, You’re Dead (2013), but Berk delivers important life lessons wrapped up in a satisfying story of baseball and friendship. What are the costs of solving crimes? Would he rather be “the Sherlock Holmes of suburbia” or just a friend? What if doing right turns out to help the boy nobody likes? These common middle school moral dilemmas are treated realistically in the believable context of baseball as a metaphor for life.

Lenny is thrown several curves as he solves the mystery and finds a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a friend in this satisfying caper. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-375-87009-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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A tropical action-filled adventure with heart.

THE EXPLORER

A crash-landing in the Amazon leaves four children stranded in the deep jungle.

They are Fred, a tall, white English boy, biracial Brazilian siblings Lila and 5-year-old Max, and a pale, white English girl, Constantia. Together they search for shelter and forage for edible fruits and larva. When Fred stumbles upon an old map, they decide to follow it to the X. In their handmade raft the crew travels down the river, through murky and clear waters, until they rediscover a lost city. Among the ruins they meet a mysterious man. He refuses to give his name, but will he refuse to help them get home? Rundell breathes character into the Amazon rain forest. The sounds, smells, flora, and fauna are vivid and tangible in the mind. The children are not as colorful, unfortunately. Fred, Lila, and Con give voice to their fears at every step, from climbing trees to facing down wild animals. Max has brief moments of wisdom in between bouts of tears or unbridled joy. The unnamed explorer does add some vibrancy to the book and commands attention despite the lush backdrop. His commentary on the effects of European imperialism is commendable although brief.

A tropical action-filled adventure with heart. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1945-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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