While that’s disappointing, fans of romance and those looking to diversify their shelves may be willing to forgive its...

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED

From the Simonverse series , Vol. 2

Tired of crushing with no kisses, 17-year-old Molly decides to take a chance on love.

Molly has always felt inferior to her fraternal twin, Cassie: though both are white, Molly is brown-haired, brown-eyed, and fat in contrast to Cassie’s blonde slenderness. But Molly doesn’t hate her body—she’s just afraid other people do. The combination of these feelings of inadequacy with ordinary teen awkwardness is a recipe for uneasy interactions with boys. Molly’s 26 crushes have all been unrequited—but have they, really? When Cassie falls in love for the first time, and two eligible possibilities present themselves, Molly decides to risk rejection. Against the backdrop of the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. and the planning of her moms’ subsequent nuptials, Molly struggles between choosing the boy she actually likes and the one who seems ideal. Themes of body image, rejection, first love, and the evolution of familial relationships—particularly between sisters—loom large. Molly is the queen of teen angst, and her voice may grate on readers. The cast is wonderfully diverse (family, sexual orientation, religion/culture, race, size, mental health), which is why it’s so sad that, though well-drawn, the characters are hard to connect with.

While that’s disappointing, fans of romance and those looking to diversify their shelves may be willing to forgive its foibles. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234870-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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