Readers will eagerly wish for a sequel that will allow them to revisit New Reynes.

ACE OF SHADES

From the Shadow Game series , Vol. 1

A sheltered girl seeking her missing mother teams up with an ambitious young crime lord in a dangerous gambling city.

Seventeen-year-old Enne Abacus Salta, a proper white girl from conservative Bellamy, arrives in New Reynes clutching a guidebook to the notorious City of Sin. She is in search of her missing adoptive mother, Lourdes Alfero, a white woman known for her genderfluid style of dress. Enne quickly learns that saying her name is a bad idea—Lourdes has been moonlighting for years as a renegade journalist loyal to the Mizer kings who were overthrown and executed during a rebellion 25 years prior. Desperate, she seeks help from the Iron Lord, the bisexual Levi Glaisyer, dark brown–skinned with bronze-and-black curls. He is struggling to pay for a scheme gone bad lest he be sent to participate in the deadly Shadow Game. Complex worldbuilding and large cast introductions initially cause things to drag, but the guidebook serves as an efficient expository device. A positive take on sexuality and sex work is expressed in a nongraphic manner. While the largest plot twist is all too predictable, the relationship between Enne and Levi simmers, and dangers pile up to an exciting climax.

Readers will eagerly wish for a sequel that will allow them to revisit New Reynes. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-335-69229-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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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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