GREENWITCH

The epic confrontation between the Light and the Dark continues (see The Dark is Rising, KR, 1973), and now the battlefield is magic-favored Cornwall where the Greenwitch — a totem figure annually sacrificed to the sea — has stolen the manuscript which Old Ones Merriman Lyon and Will Stanton need to defeat the powers of evil. The supernatural forces that converge for this chapter of the quest are sharply drawn and breathtakingly impressive — particularly the whining petulant Greenwitch who has no understanding of the importance of his stolen "secret" but calls armies of ghostly Norsemen from the sea to protect his prized possession. And the emissary of the dark, who lives in a gypsy caravan and literally paints his spells on canvas, is a fine example of an over-ambitious junior grade devil. It still seems to us that the metaphor of the final "all-time" struggle between "Light" and "Dark" is too grandiose and abstract. Imagine going meekly to bed, as do Barney, Simon and Jane, while the devil and the spirits of the sea wage war outside your cottage window. Imagine evil incarnate, fighting for its very life, having no better agent than the skulking, unreliable landscape painter. Cooper never lets us forget that this is the sort of grand moral struggle that can be fought without ever missing one's evening cup of cocoa. It all would be more exciting if there were just a little real risk involved, but the literally earth-shaking fireworks are nevertheless quite a show.

Pub Date: April 17, 1974

ISBN: 1416949666

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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