CITY OF SECRETS

From the City of Secrets series , Vol. 1

A mechanized city harbors a secret.

In the capital city of Oskars, orphan Ever Barnes lives among the gears and levers in the Switchboard Operating Facility, an edifice that can rotate and shift. Instructed by his father (who was brutally murdered), Ever guards a mysterious safe housed within the movable building. Across the city, highborn Hannah, whose father owns the Switchboard, spends her days in comfort. When the two run into each other, she is instantly taken with Ever. They form a friendship and soon find themselves caught up in a vast political conspiracy and in very real danger. This middle-grade steampunk graphic novel features a delightfully constructed world with broad appeal, reading like a remix of Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock’s Four Points series, with a dash of Laura Ruby’s York series and a hint of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2008). Ying has constructed a thrilling genre-bender that seamlessly blends hot air balloons, a secret society, an assassin’s guild, a giant robot, and political intrigue without ever feeling overloaded. The city of Oskars becomes its own fully formed character as its secrets—like a mysterious map, concealed gears and mechanisms, and a hidden safe—slowly reveal themselves. Ying’s full-color illustrations are cinematic in scope, spotlighting the nonstop action. While Ever and Hannah’s adventures come to a satisfying resolution, more are promised in a later volume. Ever presents white, and Hannah has Asian features.

Thrills and fun galore. (Graphic mystery/fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11448-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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