town; and most surprising, his post-traumatic
stress disorder. Although the story’s arc is not
unexpected, this book soars as it details the
fractious and frustrating relationship between
Maggie and her mother, and the way it makes
Vermont, and its beauty throughout the sea-
sons, a character of its own. Along with the
many tender moments here—some occurring
as Delilah softens thanks to the affections of
the two young Parker girls—there is also de-
termination and revelation, giving this more
heft than usual for a middle-grade novel.
Goldie Blox Rules the School!
By Stacy McAnulty. Illus. by Lissy
May 2017. 128p. Random, paper, $6.99
(9780399556340); lib. ed., $12.99 (9780399556357);
e-book, $6.99 (9780399556487). Gr. 2–5.
Goldie Blox wakes up and gets dressed
every morning with the help of kooky inven-
tions of her own design, like something out
of Inspector Gadget, and that morning ritual
sets the tone for this cartoonish story with a
lighthearted STEM focus. After accidentally
sending the second story of her school into
orbit, Goldie is sent to the local math-and-
sciences school for gifted students, Higgs
Bozon Prep. Her first few days at the new
school are one blunder after another, and
she earns the ire of a few classmates, who
call themselves the Gearheads. At first, the
Gearheads agree she should repair the old
school so she can go back to where she came
from, but gradually, they become real pals.
The cartoonish aspect extends to the il-
lustrations, reminiscent of classic Cartoon
Network style. With a plucky, smart pro-
tagonist struggling with the strictures of a
traditional classroom and a diverse cast of
characters, this series starter is a great choice
for fans of comical antics with a sci-fi flavor.
A House without Mirrors.
By Mårten Sandén. Illus. by Moa
Schulman. Tr. by Karin Altenberg.
Mar. 2017. 192p. Pushkin, paper, $13.95
(9781782691211). Gr. 5–8.
Thomasine and her father have been liv-
ing in their great-great-aunt Henrietta’s
gloomy house for months, waiting for her
to die. Also living there are her aunt, uncle,
and their respective children. To say that this
family group is dysfunctional would be an
understatement. Thomasine’s father is deep-
ly depressed, and all his brother and sister
seem to care about is how much money they
can get for the house when Henrietta dies.
The children all have issues and problems as
well. Then a wardrobe in a spare room filled
with all the mirrors in the house provides a
door into a mirror world where a girl named
Hetty lives and grows older with subsequent
visits. One by one, most of the people are
healed and transformed. This somber yet
hopeful story is seen through Thomasine’s
perspective. Her gift of perception helps her
solve the mystery of Hetty and bring events
full circle. Schulman’s black-and-white illus-
trations capture the story’s haunting sense of
mystery. —Donna Scanlon
Hyacinth and the Secrets Beneath.
By Jacob Sager Weinstein.
May 2017. 304p. illus. Random, $16.99
(9780399553172); lib. ed., $19.99 (9780399553196);
e-book, $16.99 (9780399553202). Gr. 4–7.
Hyacinth Hayward and her mom recently
moved to London and are staying at Hyacinth’s
aunt’s apartment for the summer. The 12-year-
old is quite handy, so she decides to fix the
temperamental bathroom faucet, unwittingly
unleashing a magical force drawn from secret
rivers flowing beneath the city. When a drop
of the magical water escapes the sink, mon-sterlike creatures appear and take Hyacinth’s
mother hostage, informing the girl she has
until midnight to return the drop of water,
“on pain of death.” Hyacinth’s neighbor Lady
Roslyn rushes in to help with the quest, but
Hyacinth soon realizes the neighbor is a villain
set on causing a second “Great Fire” in London. As they traverse the sewers of London’s
underworld, they meet all sorts of magical,
quirky characters—some friends, some foes.
Whom can Hyacinth trust as she searches for
her mother? Readers must willingly suspend
disbelief to follow Sager Weinstein’s engaging,
fast-paced fantasy, but he makes it worth their
while. It’s a wild ride that’s fun, freaky, outlandish, and suspenseful. Readers will beg for
another installment. —J. B. Petty
Join the Resistance.
By Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. Illus. by
Mar. 2017. 240p. Disney/Lucasfilm, $12.99
(9781484704844); e-book, $12.99 (9781484706077).
Mattis knows the Force is within him; it
just hasn’t visibly manifested yet. So he’s excited when he’s recruited by the Resistance to
train as a pilot. However, within minutes of
landing at the base, he falls in with Dec and
his droid “brother,” AG-90, and gets labeled
a troublemaker. When his group of trainees
discovers one among them might be a First
Order sympathizer, their plan to expose the
traitor lands them scavenging for raw materials on Vodran. Only the planet is not as
deserted as the Resistance believes. While
there are a few too many characters, many
of whom are described one-dimensionally
based on their race or culture, which could
confuse readers unfamiliar with the Star
Wars franchise, this will be a hit among fans
of the saga looking for a humorous story
about a ragtag group of tweens. A particular
highlight is AG-90, a quirky character with
a rebellious sense of humor. The popularity of Star Wars is still unabated, so expect
this series opener to fly off the shelves.
H “Hauntingly beautiful.”
— Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
H “A quiet book that will stay with readers long after they have closed it.”
— Kirkus, STARRED REVIE W
H “Art and text meld for a powerful glimpse at a way of life that begs inspection.”
— School Library Journal, STARRED REVIE W
H “A fine example of text and pictures in perfect harmony.”
— Horn Book, STARRED REVIE W