HATCH

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to Bloom (2020), half-alien/half-human teenagers Anaya, Petra, and Seth continue to fight an alien invasion while grappling with their own rapidly changing bodies.

After helping discover an herbicide that delayed the aliens’ initial attempt at colonization—seeding the Earth with deadly plant life—the three friends shelter on Deadman’s Island with Anaya’s and Petra’s parents and Dr. Weber, a scientist who becomes their ally and offers to be parentless Seth’s foster mother. The teens feel safe until Col. Pearson, the head of operations on the island, discovers their secret: that Seth has feathers, Anaya has claws, and Petra has a tail, all as a result of the alien DNA they hadn’t known they were carrying until the Earth became covered in intergalactic flora. Pearson sends the teens to a military base housing 23 other young people with alien DNA. The three are relieved to meet others like them—until they realize that the scientist running the facility has nefarious plans to study them. As the teens’ bodies transform, so do their loyalties: Should they help earthlings, who are mistreating them, or the aliens who gave them their special powers? The book’s character arcs are nuanced and believable and the prose, gorgeously rendered. Oppel’s chillingly beautiful, detailed world is the perfect backdrop to the action-packed plot. Unfortunately, the human characters largely lack any kind of diversity.

Riveting. (Science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984894-76-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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