An adrenaline-pumping action story with timely themes and lasting resonance thanks to the focus on the characters’ humanity.

OBSIDIO

From the Illuminae Files series , Vol. 3

Insurgents among the remaining Kerenza IV colonists must sabotage and delay BeiTech to stay alive long enough for survivors from Illuminae (2015) and Gemina (2016) to return and give them a fighting chance.

Rhys Lindstrom, a handsome blond techie space Marine-type, and Asha Grant, a pharmacy intern and Kady Grant’s light brown-skinned cousin, are on opposite sides—spelling trouble for this star-crossed couple. Rhys works for occupying BeiTech, while Asha’s in the resistance. Rhys has been working on the Magellan’s (nearly complete) repairs but is reassigned to the surface to maintain the crumbling colony’s infrastructure as BeiTech finishes replenishing their hermium supply so they can leave the system. Some of the (fatal) technical difficulties are the result of sabotage by colonist resisters who know that when BeiTech no longer needs them that they’re likely to be liquidated just as the “nonessential” colonists were. With Rhys horrified by the planetary situation and seeking to reconnect with his ex Asha, the resistance turns to him for a Hail Mary plan. Meanwhile, the consolidated Hypatia and Heimdall crews face tight resources, tense leadership struggles (including pushback from adults not wanting to take orders from teens), and impossible choices as they race to the colony for a long-shot rescue mission. Design as tightly controlled as the plot clarifies complicated situations and provides visceral emotional gut punches.

An adrenaline-pumping action story with timely themes and lasting resonance thanks to the focus on the characters’ humanity. (Science fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-49919-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by “the gut-brain informational cycle,” which makes it...

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN

Nerdfighter Green’s latest takes readers through Indianapolis and the human biome.

Aza Holmes doesn’t feel like herself. But “if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn’t that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun…?” When a local billionaire—and the father of her childhood friend, a white boy named Davis—disappears, Aza (who seems to be white) and her BFF, Daisy Ramirez (who is cued as Latina), plot to find him and claim the reward, amid rumors of corruption and an underexplored side plot about semi-immortal reptiles. The story revolves around anxious Aza’s dissociation from her body and life. Daisy chatters about Star Wars fan fiction (and calls Aza “Holmesy” ad nauseam), and Davis monologues about astronomy, while Aza obsesses over infection, the ever present, self-inflicted wound on her finger, and whether she’s “just a deeply flawed line of reasoning.” The thin but neatly constructed plot feels a bit like an excuse for Green to flex his philosophical muscles; teenagers questioning the mysteries of consciousness can identify with Aza, while others might wish that something—anything—really happens. The exploration of Aza’s life-threatening compulsions will resonate deeply with some, titillate others, and possibly trigger those in between.

Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by “the gut-brain informational cycle,” which makes it hard to say what anyone else will think—but this is the new John Green; people will read this, or not, regardless of someone else’s gut flora. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-55536-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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