Kidd is determined to save Olivia, the girl he has no business falling in love with because she is wealthy, cultured and well-read; things Kidd definitely is not. Yet fall in love he does. And Olivia responds to his affection. But Devon who is Kidd’s malevolent and mysterious friend from the shelter home seems determined to hurt Olivia. In order to save Olivia Kidd must destroy Devon.
De la Peña, as he did in We Were Here and Mexican White Boy, explores the psyche of a troubled Latino teen grappling with the aftermath of a horrific murder/suicide that leaves him orphaned and fearful of the abusive violence of his father and the murderous desperation of his mother. He takes more risks here with a narrative in which Kidd’s story is told through dreams, a diary, and his recollections, each of which are seeded with enough clues for the reader to suspect that not everything Kidd is telling us is real. With his usual pitch-perfect dialogue De la Peña delivers another story that will appeal to teens who enjoy realistic fiction about troubled youth. John Sexton, WLS.
Four children are time traveled into 15th century England, a decidedly chaotic place where the only rule is to support the side of the winning king, whoever he may be at the moment. Brothers Chip and Alex are really the future King Edward V and the Duke of York. They are supposed to be murdered by their usurper Uncle Richard, who crowns himself King Richard III. Their two friends Katherine and her brother Jonah go along to make sure the boys return to the twenty-first century. The episodic story combined with the Lancaster/Tudor history is confusing. The reader would do well to read Margaret Haddix’s notes at the back of the book that explains the history in a linear fashion. There is suspense and mystery when the kids run into the murderous King and his followers. Rewriting history with modern kids as the main characters may not be convincing. But young readers who like their action stories with an overlay of historical facts may enjoy the second book in this series. The book can stand alone. Lily Hecker, Pelham.
Tenth grader Tallulah Jones lies to Jenna, the most popular girl at school that she is an expert surfer. At the beach, Tallulah almost gets killed and her new found friends realize that she is a liar. She starts to get harassed at school for being a “poser.” Tallulah meets social outcast Katie who is a competitive surfer and is more interested in the waves, then fashion. Katie teaches Tallulah how to surf and their friendship grows. The story builds into suspense when Tallulah has to brave the ocean and the giant size waves to save Jenna’s life. Teens will enjoy this laid back and fun to read story. The attractive cover will also make it a big sell.
Tee Cotter, Port Chester.
Are teenagers more alike than not, whether living here in Westchester or in Ghana, Africa? Sixteen-year-old Gloria, a dropout from middle school, gets an opportunity to leave her backwater shack and become a babysitter to a doctor’s child. She finds new vistas open to her eager gaze. Back home, she and her sister had to walk to a hotel to bring back jugs of water on their heads. In the city of Kumasi, life is physically much easier. There is running water and indoor plumbing. Her boss, Dr. Christine, treats her like a sister – almost. Gloria keeps her own secrets from Sistah Christy. A neighbor, Dr. Kusi pursues her in his red foreign car, and even tells her he wants to marry her someday. The owner of a trendy clothing store charges her only half price for clothes she wants. There’s temptation all over. Gloria manages to deal with some of it, and gets caught up in the rest. She emerges with a new interest in learning and a desire to sing. Her experiences give her insight into making better life choices. Maybe teens living in Ghana aren’t that different after all.
Lilian Hecker, Pelham
Undersized Princess Sylvi, fourth child and only daughter of King Corone, shocks her family and court when she bonds with her Pegasus. In the land of Balsin, royal children at the age of twelve, meet their own Pegasus that remain with them for life. Until Sylvi’s bonding ceremony, however, humans and horses were unable to communicate without the assistance of a magician. For Sylvi and Ebon, her Pegasus, mental and verbal communication is instantaneous. Shock at this development leads to anger and outrage from Fthoom, head magician. For the past 800 years the humans and Pegasus had signed a treaty that brought protection against their common enemies. Now, however, these same enemies threaten the kingdom anew. Sylvi and Ebon know disaster is just a stroke away. Fthoom is determined to destroy their friendship. The fantastic flying world of Pegasi is made real for Sylvi and readers. Sylvi must learn to balance her own world even though she is more attracted to the magnificent world of the Pegasi. The book ends with Silvi’s brothers on the battlefield and Ebon leaving her. It would not come as a surprise to learn that there will be sequels.
Lilian Hecker, Pelham.
11 teenagers (6 boys and 3 girls) attend the same party in Santa Barbara, CA. Each has a reason for going to the party. All of the 11 characters are intertwined in some way or another . Each character (the outcast, the jock, the skateboarder, the good girl, the nerd, the womanizer etc), take a chapter in the book telling their version of the party. The story is fast paced and reads like a middle class version of the tv show the OC. Friendships, fighting, sex, drinking, and plot twists abound.
Tee Cotter, Port Chester