Ultimately, what readers take away from this solid book is the abiding sense of love that bonds and binds the twins to each...

SAME BUT DIFFERENT

TEEN LIFE ON THE AUTISM EXPRESS

Sometimes it takes a family to tell a story.

This is the case in this new book from twins Ryan and R.J. Peete, whose mother, actor Holly Robinson Peete, bookends their tales of how autism affects the personal and familial lives of teenagers. The twins reintroduce the characters of Charlie and Callie, the fictional alter egos the Peetes introduced in the picture book My Brother Charlie, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (2010), now 15. Readers see how Charlie navigates not only repeating ninth grade, particularly having to stay in special ed while Callie advances to 10th grade, but the treacheries of making “so-called friends” who try to take advantage of him, as well as puberty and dating. Callie also negotiates puberty as well as the guilt, rage, and exhaustion knotted in the “why me?” of being “the normal twin.” Charlie and Callie narrate in alternating first-person, present-tense chapters that effectively convey their disparate perspectives, even on such shared events as the death of Charlie’s dog, Toby. Readers will also appreciate that Robinson Peete addresses the very real concern of how autism might affect Charlie/R.J. as a young African-American man whose behavior could be easily—and lethally—misinterpreted by others, as has happened to people of color with disabilities.

Ultimately, what readers take away from this solid book is the abiding sense of love that bonds and binds the twins to each other as they tell their multifaceted truths about living with this little-understood condition. (resources) (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-09468-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An engrossing addition to a thoughtful coming-of-age series.

AKATA WOMAN

From the Nsibidi Scripts series , Vol. 3

A Nigerian teen is pushed to otherworldly limits in search of a mystical object.

Three years after discovering her power as a Leopard, Sunny Nwazue, now 15, must embark on yet another dangerous journey. Tasked with retrieving what the Nimm women (her and Chichi’s ancestors) stole from Udide, the Great Spider Artist, Sunny and her coven—even-tempered Orlu, brash Sasha, and clever Chichi—have no choice other than to comply or risk their pasts and futures. As events are set in motion to track down Udide’s scroll, Sunny must also learn how to be one with Anyanwu, her spirit face, now that she is doubled, a rare occurrence among Leopard People. However, Anyanwu seems to disappear just when Sunny needs her most, and Sunny begins to resent something that is part of her. Over the course of the seven-day time limit Udide sets, Sunny must explore treacherous parts of the spirit world’s wilderness, a parallel Earth teeming with lush plant life and remarkable technology, and new parts of herself. Through the steadily paced, omniscient narration, Okorafor draws readers into Sunny’s compelling world—both real and imagined—making the setting as much of a character as the rest of the cast. As in the previous entries, themes of balance and accountability are woven throughout as Sunny is tested. All characters are Black.

An engrossing addition to a thoughtful coming-of-age series. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-451-48058-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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