Lenny is thrown several curves as he solves the mystery and finds a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a friend in...

SAY IT AIN'T SO

From the Lenny & the Mikes series , Vol. 2

The second installment in the Lenny & the Mikes mysteries finds Lenny Norbeck and his friends Mike and Other Mike in seventh grade with a new case to solve.

Though starting catcher Davis Gannett has been kicked off the team for stealing a cellphone, and Mike has taken his place, Davis keeps showing up at games. As the season goes on, Lenny discovers that another team, Griffith Middle School, is stealing the catcher’s signs, allowing their hitters to know what pitches to expect. So when pitching star Hunter Ashwell starts losing games, panic is in the air, and Lenny has a new mystery to solve. It’s not as dramatic as the murder mystery of the series opener, Strike Three, You’re Dead (2013), but Berk delivers important life lessons wrapped up in a satisfying story of baseball and friendship. What are the costs of solving crimes? Would he rather be “the Sherlock Holmes of suburbia” or just a friend? What if doing right turns out to help the boy nobody likes? These common middle school moral dilemmas are treated realistically in the believable context of baseball as a metaphor for life.

Lenny is thrown several curves as he solves the mystery and finds a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a friend in this satisfying caper. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-375-87009-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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