Suspenseful and totally un-put-down-able—with a clear opening for a sequel.

ANY SIGN OF LIFE

High school senior and WNBA hopeful Paige wakes up from a coma to find herself the only living person in her Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood.

What happens next is not for the faint of heart: Dead, decomposing bodies—beginning with Paige’s own family—litter the pages of this smart, suspenseful thriller. All Paige knows is that she went to bed with the flu one night and woke up six days later, severely dehydrated, to a changed world. She learns from a prerecorded radio broadcast that the flu that hit Columbus harder than usual became a national emergency, but as she works to regain her strength and gather supplies, she remembers the coronavirus pandemic of her childhood and realizes how improbable it is that people in multiple cities naturally caught the flu and died so quickly. She’s cautiously thrilled to find two other living teens: former high school football star Trey, a would-be pre-med student, and Tanq, an asexual teen girl who is an artist. Together they set out toward Lake Erie hoping to reach fellow survivors Manny and Wyatt—whose live radio broadcasts promise answers—before their unknown enemy finds them. Paige’s tenacity is appealing, and her relatable first-person narration shines when observing tiny details of her surroundings and matter-of-factly processing topics like privilege, menstruation, and reproductive rights. Trey is Black, and Manny is Puerto Rican; all other major characters are White.

Suspenseful and totally un-put-down-able—with a clear opening for a sequel. (Science fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-269193-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

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RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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