A touching, utterly satisfying conclusion.

HEAT WAVE

From the Extraordinaries series , Vol. 3

The last installment of the Extraordinaries trilogy is everything a devoted fan could want: dramatic, action-packed, sentimental, and steamy.

It’s the summer before Nicholas Bell’s senior year of high school, and though he really should be working on his college admissions essays, he’s got other priorities, like making out with his incredibly handsome boyfriend, Seth Gray. Oh, and also training to become one of the vigilante superheroes called Extraordinaries. Thankfully Nick’s got an amazing support group in his friends and their families, including Seth, aka the fire-powered Extraordinary Pyro Storm; the self-proclaimed, pun-ready Dad Squad; Miss Conduct, another Extraordinary who happens to be a drag queen—and his mother, who’s always been there for him. Nick has taken on his mother’s mantle of Guardian, honing his still unsteady telekinetic powers. This book is jammed with plot twists, making it a real page-turner. Klune also doesn’t shy away from incorporating real-life events into his story, such as discussions related to racial bias in policing and the extremism of a wealthy businessman who is running for public office. Nick and Seth have several open, practical conversations about the next physical steps in their relationship, modeling healthy communication and consent in a queer relationship. The lead protagonists are White; the supporting cast includes racial diversity.

A touching, utterly satisfying conclusion. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-20373-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations.

CARAVAL

From the Caraval series , Vol. 1

Magic, mystery, and love intertwine and invite in this newest take on the “enchanted circus” trope.

Sisters raised by their abusive father, a governor of a colonial backwater in a world vaguely reminiscent of the late 18th century, Scarlett and Donatella each long for something more. Scarlett, olive-skinned, dark of hair and attitude, longs for Caraval, the fabled, magical circus helmed by the possibly evil Master Legend Santos, while blonde, sunny Tella finds comfort in drink and the embraces of various men. A slightly awkward start, with inconsistencies of attitude and setting, rapidly smooths out when they, along with handsome “golden-brown” sailor Julian, flee to Caraval on the eve of Scarlett’s arranged marriage. Tella disappears, and Scarlett must navigate a nighttime world of magic to find her. Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. Dresses can be purchased for secrets or days of life; clocks can become doors; bridges move: this is an inventive and original circus, laced with an edge of horror. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets.

Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-09525-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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