BEL-AIR BAMBI AND THE MALL RATS

A merry spoof of everything from L.A. and TV pilots to beauty salons: Buffie explains how she and the rest of the Babcock family find themselves run out of Hollywood and on their way to the place that has inspired their father's increasingly alarming bouts of nostalgia—his hometown, where his fond memories and the bombed-out look of Hickory Fork don't mesh. Citizens are fearful of a teenage gang ("the Mall Rats") that's trashed the local shopping center, runs the school, and regularly shakes down other students. Buffie's older sister Bambi, not impressed, seeks to strip the M.R.'s of their status. The Babcocks put on a show worthy of Andy Hardy, get Hickory Fork back on the straight and narrow, then return to the top of the TV heap. Meeting characters with names like Tanya Hyde and Bob Wire, readers won't mistake Peck's pack for one where realism reigns. A honey of a funny ride through small-town America gone horribly awry, in a place where family values means Grandma totes a shotgun in the name of a good night's sleep. The sendup of Tinseltown is just as comic; the whole story's a tonic. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-30823-X

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1993

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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