One of Natasha’s seventh-grade successes is finally finishing a story; usually they are as unfinished as this one, first in...

WISHING DAY

From the Wishing Day series , Vol. 1

In sleepy Willow Hill, a girl’s many wishes come true.

That’s what people say about wishes made on the third night of the third month after her 13th birthday. Seventh-grader Natasha Blok isn’t quite sure she believes this, but after her magical wishing night she does make her first kiss happen. Will the other two come true as well? The oldest of three motherless girls fewer than three years apart in age, Natasha is the responsible one, but she has a secret side: she writes stories. She longs for someone to see all of her, to be “somebody’s favorite.” When she starts getting mysterious messages, she thinks maybe that wish is coming true—or maybe it’s her “impossible wish”: that her mother were still alive. Grounded firmly in present-day middle school life, this has just enough magic to be unsettling and keep readers engaged. Natasha and her sisters, pretty Darya and creative Ava, are clearly drawn, believable characters; all are white. Her encounters with the elderly, enigmatic Bird Lady are deliciously puzzling. The chronologically straightforward third-person narrative is organized into sections separated by other characters’ revealing wishes and propelled by convincing dialogue.

One of Natasha’s seventh-grade successes is finally finishing a story; usually they are as unfinished as this one, first in a planned trilogy. Readers like her sisters will be eager to see where her story goes. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234206-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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