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  New York Times Review

Barely a chapter into this novel, readers may feel as if they're deep inside the black hold of an oil tanker - in a good way. The author painstakingly evokes a dystopian future where rising waters have submerged the Gulf Coast and salvaging scrap from ships is one of the few honest jobs left. Nailer, small for his age, is "good scavenge," but he stares at the mile-high clipper ships of the wealthy "slicing across the ocean" in the distance. He dreams of being on one: the ambition to bring down the system they represent comes later, amid an epic storm and a screen-ready chase scene. SHARK VS. TRAIN By Chris Barton. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Little, Brown. $16.99. (Ages 3 to 6) Who will win the face-off between two favorite toys: the shark or the train? (A dinosaur must be waiting in the wings.) Lichtenheld's high-energy drawings are the main appeal in a series of contests that could have built to more drama. (The opponents bowl, trick or treat and . . . make lemonade?) At the end, two boys drop the game and break for lunch: "Next time, you're history!" as the shark says, face-first in the toy box. STUCK ON EARTH By David Klass. Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $16.99. (Ages 11 to 14) "We are skimming over the New Jersey countryside in full search mode, hunting a 14-year-old." Ketchvar III, who resembles a common snail, is here from another planet to inhabit the mind and body of "an infinitely lower life-form," an American teenager. The mission: to judge whether the human race is worth saving. A witty and penetrating satire of American life follows, as Ketchvar, having taken over Tom Filber, burrows into a typical unhappy suburban family and high school. It's easy to sympathize with both of them. THE DREAMER By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Illustrated by Peter Sis. Scholastic. $17.99. (Ages 9 to 14) Ryan's hypnotic text, inspired by the childhood of Pablo Neruda, is brought to life by the extraordinary art of Peter Sis. Image after image - a locomotive in woods, an angry father in pointillist silhouette -give shape to the imagination of a lonely boy, Neftalí. Ryan captures the way in which the world is a dream to him; even the numbers in his math homework "hold hands in a long procession of tiny figures" before they fly through the window and escape, just as he one day will. THE SIXTY-EIGHT ROOMS By Marianne Malone. Illustrated by Greg Call. Random House. $16.99. (Ages 8 to 12) Malone's first novel is a smoothly written fantasy with an appealing premise. Ruthie and Jack, best friends on a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago's Thorne Rooms - 68 perfectly realistic miniature chambers - find a magic key to get inside them. Not only can Ruthie lie in an elegant canopied bed, she can also step into the painted landscape visible through the window ("Being outside in 18th-century France felt surprisingly normal"). There are few great surprises along the way, but the fantasy of a parallel world is irresistible nonetheless. POETREES Written and illustrated by Douglas Florian. Beach Lane. $16.99. (Ages 6 and up) Florian's richly watercolored collages, accompanied by verse, evoke a whole forest of trees. Sometimes it takes just a handful of words. "From the acorn grows the tree - slowly, slowly," he writes, as an oak fills a two-page spread, stained onto paper. JULIE JUST BEST FRIENDS A podcast with Jon J Muth and Mo Willems on creating "City Dog, Country Frog," at

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* This YA debut by Bacigalupi, a rising star in adult science fiction, presents a dystopian future like so many YA sf novels. What is uncommon, though, is that although Bacigalupi's future earth is brilliantly imagined and its genesis anchored in contemporary issues, it is secondary to the memorable characters. In a world in which society has stratified, fossil fuels have been consumed, and the seas have risen and drowned coastal cities, Nailer, 17, scavenges beached tankers for scrap metals on the Gulf Coast. Every day, he tries to make quota and avoid his violent, drug-addicted father. After he discovers a modern clipper ship washed up on the beach, Nailer thinks his fortune is made, but then he discovers a survivor trapped in the wreckage the swank daughter of a shipping-company owner. Should he slit the girl's throat and sell her for parts or take a chance and help her? Clearly respecting his audience, Bacigalupi skillfully integrates his world building into the compelling narrative, threading the backstory into the pulsing action. The characters are layered and complex, and their almost unthinkable actions and choices seem totally credible. Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A gritty teen betrays his father and flees his grim existence in a postglobal-warming Gulf Coast village to protect a young woman he barely knows in this gripping futuristic thriller. Fifteen-year-old Nailer works on the "light crew" as a ship breaker, salvaging metals from abandoned oil tankers. Nailer's vicious father routinely beats him. In this violent world where people do anything for money, Nailer's future seems bleak until he discovers Nina, the wealthy, attractive survivor of a shipwreck. Rather than kill Nina and steal the salvage, Nailer opts to save her, triggering a harrowing journey to the submerged cities of Orleans to find people loyal to Nina. As Nailer experiences brutal betrayals, he relies on his wits and learns the people worth calling family are the ones who "[cover] your back.... Everything else [is] just so much smoke and lies." In Bacigalupi's defiled, depressing landscape populated by mercenary humans and mechanical dog-men, Nailer's loyalty offers hope. Told in the third person, this stark, surreal story sends an alarm to heed the warning signs of climate change or suffer a similar fate. (Science fiction. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
This thrilling bestseller and National Book Award Finalist is a gritty, high-stakes adventure of a teenage boy faced with conflicting loyalties, set in a dark future America devastated by the forces of climate change. <br> <br> In America's flooded Gulf Coast region, oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. Grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....<br> <br> In this powerful novel, Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a fast-paced adventure set in the vivid and raw, uncertain future of his companion novels The Drowned Cities and Tool of War .<br> <br> "Suzanne Collins may have put dystopian literature on the YA map with The Hunger Games ...but Bacigalupi is one of the genre's masters, employing inventively terrifying details in equally imaginative story lines." -- Los Angeles Times <br> <br> A New York Times Bestseller<br> A Michael L. Printz Award Winner<br> A National Book Award Finalist<br> A VOYA 2010 Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers Book<br> A Rolling Stone 40 Best YA Novels Book
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