Adrienne Kress - Timothy and the Dragon's Gate

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The eponymous young heroine of Alex and The Ironic Gentleman (2007) sails in about halfway through to play a supporting role in this equally tongue-in-cheek sequel. Eleven-year-old Timothy finds his pose of cool indifference challenged at every turn after gaining possession of a key that gives him total control of an old Chinese man who claims to be a dragon imprisoned in human form for juvenile behavior until a complicated set of conditions can be met. Not quite sure why, Timothy finds himself headed for China to fulfill said conditions - pursued by both a trio of murderous black taxicabs and an all-too-capable ninja named Emily. Sporting a chip on his shoulder the size of a sequoia while being prone to both snotty behavior and fits of rage, Timothy makes an annoying protagonist. Still, he is endowed with heart as well as patient allies, and in surviving a string of narrow squeaks he comes out with a better self-image. Though at least as wordy as its predecessor, the tale's snarky dialogue, sudden twists, authorial asides and daffy characters will keep readers turning the pages. (Fantasy. 11-14) (Kirkus Reviews)