Exciting, tender, and absolutely wonderful.


From the Islanders series , Vol. 2

Twelve-year-old Jake has great expectations for another wonderful summer on Dewees Island, a private island and nature sanctuary in South Carolina, in this follow-up to The Islanders (2021).

Jake wants to reunite with his friends Lovie and Macon and have a new adventure. Most of all he hopes his ex-Army father will be able to heal from his injuries; Dad has become emotionally withdrawn and refuses help. Jake’s friends, grandmother Honey, and Fire Chief Rand, his father’s childhood friend, are all waiting to greet them with hugs. During a quick visit to Honey’s newly modernized nature center, the kids spot a newspaper article that supplies their next adventure: hunting for Blackbeard’s treasure. A metal detector, research help from Honey, and memories from Rand and Dad set them on their way. There are adventures galore, encounters with a mysterious local treasure hunter, and lots of laughter (and some tears) in the changing relationship dynamics between Jake, his dad, and his friends. Two boys, cousins from the city with bad attitudes whose actions cause danger to protected animals, are an ongoing menace. The authors keep the action moving at a rapid pace, filling the pages with vivid sensory descriptions while masterfully interweaving historical facts, wildlife information, and gentle lessons. Jake’s first-person narration allows for self-knowledge and self-doubt while demonstrating capability for insight and compassion. Scattered black-and-white sketches illuminate the activities. Most characters present White; Macon is Black.

Exciting, tender, and absolutely wonderful. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2730-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...


Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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