A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment.

BOYING UP

HOW TO BE BRAVE, BOLD AND BRILLIANT

Body hair, biology, and boyhood are dissected and demystified in this guide to pubescence.

As the XY follow-up to her XX exposé into what makes a preteen body tick, neuroscientist and actress Bialik (Girling Up, 2017, etc.) lends her scientific and maternal expertise to anyone fumbling through the boy-to–young man process. Replacing mystery and misunderstanding with science (proteins, chemicals, and hormones, oh my) the book scrutinizes the human body’s pubescent evolution. This is a pragmatic and relatable tool for understanding how, why, and what you’re chemically wired for, from hair growth to attention span, and it’s careful to note that generalizations are guides not rules. In other words, there’s no “right” time for the P word to kick in. What’s happening to girls (breasts, ovaries, height) on the puberty periphery is also discussed, as is gender identity. (Of note: a global map of countries recognizing more than two genders.) Merging research with experience raising two young boys, the result avoids a myopic point of view by peppering pages with lighthearted line drawings and sidebars with firsthand accounts from anonymous men. Bialik assures readers that we all figure out this hormonal playground called our body: In other words, when it comes to puberty, you’ve got this. Knowing where to sit at lunch when you get to high school? That’s another book entirely.

A matter-of-fact mirror that reflects reality and respect, not bewildered embarrassment. (Nonfiction. 9-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51597-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

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Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy.

BONNIE AND CLYDE

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

A portrait of two victims of the Great Depression whose taste for guns and fast cars led to short careers in crime but longer ones as legends.

Blumenthal (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2016, etc.) makes a determined effort to untangle a mare’s nest of conflicting eyewitness accounts, purple journalism, inaccurate police reports, and self-serving statements from relatives and cohorts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Though the results sometimes read as dry recitations of names and indistinguishable small towns, she makes perceptive guesses about what drove them and why they have become iconic figures, along with retracing their early lives, two-year crime spree, and subsequent transformations into doomed pop-culture antiheroes. She does not romanticize the duo—giving many of their murder victims faces through individual profiles, for instance, and describing wounds in grisly detail—but does convincingly argue that their crimes and characters (particularly Bonnie’s) were occasionally exaggerated. Blumenthal also wrenchingly portrays the desperation that their displaced, impoverished families must have felt while pointedly showing how an overtaxed, brutal legal system can turn petty offenders into violent ones. A full version of Bonnie’s homespun ballad “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and notes on the subsequent lives of significant relatives, accomplices, and lawmen join meaty lists of sources and interviews at the end.

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy. (photos, timeline, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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An engrossing, dramatic account of courage and tragedy from the Age of Discovery.

MAGELLAN

OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Bergreen ably adapts his book for adults Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (2003) into a gripping and harrowing true adventure story for young readers.

Magellan is portrayed as a completely fearless, often reckless opportunist who had an uncanny ability to make powerful enemies and earn the enmity of his crew. Outsized ambitions led him to abandon his native Portugal for the chance to command an expedition for archrival Spain, which made him commander of the largest and best-equipped expedition of the time to find the fabled Spice Islands and claim the lands he found along the way for Spain and the Catholic Church. Surviving near-constant mutinies, treacherous sailing conditions, and frequent threats of starvation, Magellan brought his expedition as far as the Philippines, where he was killed in a confrontation with the inhabitants of Cebu. Though Magellan’s armada went on to the Spice Islands without him, further tragedies reduced the fleet of five ships and 260 sailors to a single battered vessel with 18 survivors that returned to Spain. Bergreen recounts in vivid and grisly detail the wretched conditions the crews of the ships had to endure, skillfully explaining the complicated geopolitics of the era and the historical import of the expedition.

An engrossing, dramatic account of courage and tragedy from the Age of Discovery. (maps, charts, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-120-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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