In the end, the lampoon falls victim to its own sense of irony, making Buck feel like a secondary character in someone...

GNOME-A-GEDDON

As the title indicates, a novel that attempts to subvert and poke fun at fantasy tropes.

A superfan of the series Triumphant Gnome Syndicate, Buck Rogers knows all the trivia. Buck, a white boy, and his friend Lizzie Adams, a multiracial (black/white) girl, eagerly await the midnight release of Gnome-A-Geddon, the series’ newest. Compounding the excitement, author Harold Macinaw makes a surprise appearance but then suddenly disappears. The next morning, Buck and Lizzie find replicas of themselves, and none of the adults can be woken. Possibly even more alarmingly, rows of children, including Buck’s little sister, Willy, march trancelike into a dumpster behind the bookstore. It turns out Flipside, the world of the books, is real. Using his comprehensive knowledge of the Triumphant Gnome Syndicate, Buck must find Macinaw and rescue Willy, but Flipside is more terrifying than he could have imagined. Like so many other fantasy protagonists, Buck is liberal with the snark, but some of the humor falls flat, as when he postulates that Lizzie might be part Troll because she’s multiracial. Lizzie never rises above the role of Buck’s sidekick, even though she reprimands Buck for not allowing her to fully participate in the adventure, and other characters do not rise above Buck’s preconceived notions of them.

In the end, the lampoon falls victim to its own sense of irony, making Buck feel like a secondary character in someone else’s story and not quite a protagonist in his own . (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7845-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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