Personal and cultural complexities distinguish this fresh and fascinating look at a lawless future.

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US

The world’s geopolitical balance rests on a genetically modified sea monster and his 17 1/2–year-old trainer. Can she resist the adrenaline rush of a pirate’s life to keep the world aright?

In Skrutskie’s debut, swelling seas and a one-world government rearrange national boundaries. Pirates, quite a few who are born on sovereign flotillas, are the new world threat. The governments hire businesses like the one owned by Cassandra Leung’s mom, which create genetically modified sea monsters called Reckoners to destroy the pirates and their vessels. Cassandra, like her dad, trains the aquatic escorts. On her first voyage, her first Reckoner, a terrapoid—a half-turtle, half–marine iguana hybrid “the size of a football field” and named Durga—is killed while trying to protect her assigned ship from the attack of the pirate leader Santa Elena. Cassandra hesitates too long in killing herself, per her dad’s instruction in order to keep the proprietary secrets, and Santa Elena captures her. Somehow, the pirate leader secures her own marine escort and coerces Cassandra to rear the creature. Even as the author offers pure speculative fiction, she also gives readers a terrifically believable heroine with Cassandra, who makes some all-too-human decisions to survive. Most fascinatingly, the author creates a multicultural world led by two women of color—Asian-American Cassandra and ethnically ambiguous Santa Elena—who are larger than life without resorting to stereotypes.

Personal and cultural complexities distinguish this fresh and fascinating look at a lawless future. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4691-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more