SISTERS/HERMANAS

In a bilingual flip-flop edition, a novella contrasting two 14-year-olds who have one fleeting but decisive encounter in a Texas mall where both have come for tools of their trade. Mexican-born Rosa, who has no green card and whose only English words are "foul" ones learned from her customers, works as a prostitute, the only job available to her; she sends as much money as she can back to her mother and clings to the idea of the baby Jesus, since she's sure the adult one would condemn her. Traci's mother, calling her "present marriage" ideal, insists that "how popular you are in high school and later, who you marry—all of that is determined now." Traci must get on the cheer-leading squad, and to that end she has closets full of clothes and spends hours on her makeup. In alternating chapters, Paulsen draws the circumstances of both girls' lives with insight, compassion, and enough outrage to stir the reader (without quite weakening his case by overstatement); in the end, the girls' meeting is an epiphany for Traci, who—at least for the moment—understands that "That girl and I—we are just the same." For Rosa, it's a tragedy: Traci's mother hands her over to pursuing guards, who have recognized her for what she is by her dress. Simplistic, perhaps, but still a riveting and accessible portrayal that's sure to lead to useful discussion. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-15-275323-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1993

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BETWEEN TWO FIRES

BLACK SOLDIERS IN THE CIVIL WAR

Brought together in what novelist Hansen (Which Way Freedom?, 1986) calls a ``great experiment,'' black troops in the Civil War faced not only enemy armies but their own side's vicious racism while proving their ability. They had already fought in every previous American war, but never in permanent units; faced with a manpower shortage, Lincoln overcame his reluctance and allowed black companies to form—though some had to assemble and march in secret to avoid civilian riots. Quoting frequently from contemporary sources, Hansen describes their recruitment, their struggle for proper pay, supplies, and training, and their heroic performance in dozens of actions. She contends that, for them, the war had no complex causes: first, last and always, it was a crusade against slavery. Her methodical, well-documented study is ranges wider than Cox's Undying Glory (about the Massachusetts 54th Regiment). Murky b&w photos and reproductions; notes; substantial bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-531-11151-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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