Important, engrossing, and altogether necessary.

CITY OF ILLUSION

From the City of Secrets series , Vol. 2

Is unity possible in a nation divided?

In this follow-up to City of Secrets (2020), best friends Hannah and Ever are visiting the nearby city of Alexios, a place that “specializes in illusions.” Each city in their world is rumored to have its own giant robot called a Megantic; Hannah and Ever found their city’s Megantic, naming it Oskar after their home. While they must leave Oskar during their travels, Hannah brings along his voice-activated remote in case of emergency. While in Alexios, the pair have an encounter with a mysterious street magician named Chifa and her companion, Tanan, whom they learn are working for Vash, their power-hungry nemesis, who wants control of all the Megantics for his own nefarious doings. While Vash craves absolute power, Hannah and Ever know that working together may be their only hope; can they convince Chifa and her gang to align with them before it’s too late? Ying’s command of story and dazzling art come to life in this intricately woven tale that deftly incorporates secret societies, giant robot fights, spies, magic, and the power of acceptance without ever feeling bogged down. While the steampunk setting calls to a bygone era, the messaging is exceptionally contemporary. Her cast of characters is diverse; main characters Hannah and Ever present with Asian features.

Important, engrossing, and altogether necessary. (Graphic fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11451-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is...

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CRENSHAW

Applegate tackles homelessness in her first novel since 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan.

Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is nevertheless a somberly affecting one . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04323-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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