A satisfying read that stands alone but is richer for its company.

BEVERLY, RIGHT HERE

The friendship of strangers helps a 14-year-old runaway realize that there are important connections to be found at home as well.

It is 1979, four years after the events that bound together the Three Rancheros, Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly, in Raymie Nightingale (2016). Buddy, the dog they rescued, has died, and Beverly Tapinski can think of no reason to stay home, so she hitches a ride to Tamaray Beach, Florida. Lying about her age, she finds a job in Mr. C’s restaurant and a place to stay in elderly Iola Jenkins’ trailer. In this third book about the girls, DiCamillo mixes familiar ingredients: absent parents, disparate friends, the ability to drive a car, the power of generosity, and the satisfaction of a big celebratory meal. Beverly is the focus here; her old friends appear only as memories or a voice on the telephone. At 14, she’s on the verge of finding herself, and she’s newly seeing herself through others’ eyes. As always, secondary characters (likely white, like Beverly) are interestingly drawn: the lonely older woman; acne-faced and college-bound Elmer, who draws her picture and teaches her to dance; ambitious Freddie the waitress and her unsuitable boyfriend. But in this immediate narrative, simply told and progressing in real time, readers encounter this world through Beverly’s eyes and mind, finding pleasure in small things, appreciating friends of all sorts, coming to terms with losses, and moving on.

A satisfying read that stands alone but is richer for its company. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9464-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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