Exciting, heartbreaking, and far from ordinary.

WHEN THE SKY FELL ON SPLENDOR

Five years after a steel mill explosion in Splendor, Ohio, six teens gain unusual abilities when they get too close to a UFO crash.

The Ordinary are Franny and her brother Arthur, Sofia, Remy, Levi, and Nick, brought together after they lost loved ones in the explosion and its aftermath. Franny and Arthur’s brother, Mark, is still in a coma, and their mother has left them. While filming “Ghost Hunters,” a new episode of their mockumentary web series, a disc-shaped object crashes, engulfing them in brightness. Soon, Franny’s having a weird effect on electronics and believes she may be inhabited by an alien, but she’s not the only one experiencing unusual things: Remy is having visions of the end of the world, and Nick develops incredible musical talent. Franny’s scary next-door neighbor, who was blamed for the industrial accident, is acting even weirder than usual, and the FBI is after them. Can they save each other and the world? The alien mystery is compelling, but this story’s heart beats with Franny and her friends. Franny’s recollections of her family before the tragedy are poignant, and Henry (A Million Junes, 2017, etc.) tackles profound loss and grief with sensitivity while emphasizing the preciousness of human connection in this vast and wondrous universe. Sofia’s family is from Mexico City, Remy is implied Japanese-American, and other main characters are assumed white.

Exciting, heartbreaking, and far from ordinary. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-48071-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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