Heartfelt and poignant, the tale nevertheless feels a little out of touch.

SOLDIER SISTER, FLY HOME

The daughter of a Navajo woman and a white man struggles with her older sister’s deployment to Iraq and her own sense of self.

Thirteen-year-old Tess feels abandoned when Gaby, six years older, shocks the whole family by enlisting in the military. Worse, Tess must reluctantly accept the responsibility to care for Gaby's feisty horse. Flood nicely captures Tess’ anxiety as she makes several attempts to befriend her sister's aggressive stallion, as well as her sadness as a lone sibling left behind. She feels out of place both at boarding school in Flagstaff, where she’s taunted for being an “Indian,” and at home on the Rez, where kids call her an “apple”: red on the outside but white on the inside. She slowly comes to peace with her sister’s absence and her own identity during a summer idyll with her grandmother, taking care of the family’s sheep in the canyon. Tess narrates her story with a healthy sprinkling of Navajo, and though she is likably earnest, there is a lot of telling—to Gaby, her family, and readers—about her cultural clashes with her peers and not enough showing. This story loses its way by not letting readers into the modern world of the Native American teenager, who would more likely write rap songs than ceremonial poetry. At times Tess’ grandmother feels more part of that world, with her purchase of Day-Glo green sneakers, than Tess does.

Heartfelt and poignant, the tale nevertheless feels a little out of touch. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-702-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more