A strong and worthy successor that showcases the skill of a master worldbuilder.

REDEMPTOR

From the Raybearer series , Vol. 2

Tarisai of Swana learns to navigate life in power while under constant pressure from friends and foes.

Now 17, Tarisai adapts to being the new Empress and High Lady Judge of Aritsar. She hopes to live up to her honorific, Idajo, or the Just, and address economic inequalities that oppress anyone without noble blood. But she must also prepare to journey through the Underworld after offering herself as the last Redemptor child sacrifice to the abiku—demons—who dwell there. The abiku promise to forfeit future sacrifices if Tarisai makes it out alive, but she didn’t factor in the weight and trauma of being haunted by undead children holding her accountable for their justice. The book, infused with West African influences, blossoms at a perfect pace as readers travel around the continental empire both physically with Tarisai and through the memories of others, learning more about the lush world Ifueko has crafted. New magical beings are awakened and their connections to nature and the survival of the people around Aritsar are explored with an emphasis on contemporary social issues of eco-justice seamlessly threaded through. This book is more reflective than the first volume, supporting insightful glimpses into the maturation of not just Tarisai, but other characters too; still, the action never lags, with the story remaining bright and exciting.

A strong and worthy successor that showcases the skill of a master worldbuilder. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3984-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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

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