LUCY ROSE

WORKING MYSELF TO PIECES AND BITS

The dynamic, self-assured Lucy Rose continues her fourth-grade diary entries following the Christmas break to the end of the school year. Still busy as ever, Lucy Rose spends lots of time planning and unsuccessfully executing several money-making schemes to help best friend Jonique and her parents build a new bakery from an old plumbing store in disrepair. Despite her can-do attitude, Lucy Rose is dismayed by classmate Ashley’s incessant teasing, creating rumors about Lucy’s romance with good friend Melonhead. Yet when Ashley’s true reasons for her own unhappiness are inadvertently revealed through an outright lie, a new dilemma emerges for Lucy Rose. She would REALLY like to expose Ashley for a satisfying payback, but isn’t sure she should. Kelly continues her protagonist’s winning chatty journal with enough wordplay and banter to keep kids and adults sympathetically nodding their heads for this young heroine. Lucy Rose sports an attitude on life’s ups and downs that is “excellent-O” with the supportive cast of friends and family that readers have come to enjoy. “D-double-D-licious”–sounding recipes for “Lucy Roses” cupcakes and “Sweet Joniques” cookies appended in the same fun-loving style for kids to follow. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-385-73408-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

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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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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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