Suspense, romance, and the excitement of discovery make this Western thoroughly enjoyable.

EVERY HIDDEN THING

In the great era of dinosaur-hunting, two teenagers accompany their paleontologist fathers in a race to discover the biggest of them all: the rex.

A spirit of adventure permeates this fast-paced novel by the award-winning Oppel. Rachel Cartland is the rare 19th-century girl whose father allows her to pursue her interest in the natural sciences, at least until she marries. Samuel Bolt, with his knack for assembling fossilized bones, convinces his nearly penniless father to mount an expedition to head west and follow up on a lead from an amateur bone collector. On the train to Nebraska, they discover that the moneyed Cartlands are headed to the same place with identical intentions—and a crew of paleontology students from Yale and a U.S. Army escort. With their fathers embroiled in rivalry, Sam and Rachel are meant to spy on each other, which gives them a chance to become acquainted out of sight of others. Rich in period details and dialogue, the story shifts between Rachel’s and Sam’s alternating first-person voices. Rachel’s narrative reveals that she’s one of the few white characters with enough conscience to reflect on the savagery of the explorers’ treatment of the local Pawnee and Lakota Sioux.

Suspense, romance, and the excitement of discovery make this Western thoroughly enjoyable. (Historical fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6416-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Several yards short of a touchdown.

STAY GOLD

A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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