Disappointingly superficial

LINDSAY'S JOYRIDE

From the Shred Girls series , Vol. 1

A socially awkward preteen named Lindsay emerges from a superhero fantasy world to make friends and become a BMX queen.

When Lindsay’s parents announce that they are going on an archaeological dig in Estonia, she can hardly believe her luck. She is sure to find a hidden amulet on their assignment that will finally reveal her superpowers, unleashing the fearless girl underneath her shy, bilingual facade. Instead, they tell her that she will be staying with her cousin and archnemesis, Phoebe, the tough-dressing and tattooed daughter of her tía Maria. All at once, she has to say goodbye to her house, her parents, and her comic books for a summer adventure that will push her to athletic new heights and force her to admit how wrong she was about her cousin’s dark nature. Getting to know the real Phoebe means attending her BMX classes at an indoor track named Joyride, where Lindsay enters an all-gender bike-jumping competition. While Lindsay stops judging Phoebe for her punk style of dress, she remains preoccupied with external appearances and popularity throughout the novel, undergoing a makeover in an attempt to fit it. Dressing for a training session, she reflects that “the hat makes me feel like I actually belong on the tracks at Joyride.” The author uses clothing styles and stereotypes in place of character development throughout, defeating the point of Lindsay’s earliest lesson. Biracial Lindsay’s mom is Mexican, and her father is white; she and Phoebe both have light skin and brown hair.

Disappointingly superficial . (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63565-277-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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