Thought-provoking and insightful.

LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT

Sundquist (We Should Hang Out Sometime, 2014) explores blindness and sight in his first novel.

Aspiring to be "the Stevie Wonder of journalism," white, congenitally blind Will Porter is confident that mainstreaming into high school at 16 will be a snap. But things get awkward when he falls for Cecily, an artistic, evasive white girl with a knack for explaining visual concepts. Soon, Will learns that he has the opportunity to gain eyesight via experimental retinal stem-cell implants. His difficult decision sensitively explores disability and its influence on identity. The author's research shows; there are frequent explanations of eyesight and its relationship to the brain. That information is critical for understanding the disorientation and frustration that Will experiences upon gaining eyesight. Sight requires him to learn colors, shapes, and perspective as if he's just been born—which, in a sense, he has. Such surprises as racial differences (when he sees African-American pal Whitford for the first time he thinks, “What’s the fuss about?”), paintings, and a "counterintuitive" snowstorm prompt interesting reflections, and his new perspective is tested when he realizes that Cecily's appearance significantly differs from his cheerfully nerdy new friends' descriptions of her. The juxtaposition of blindness with (not) judging by appearances is common, but the author gives depth to the trope by highlighting the betrayal Will feels at the exploitation of his blindness. The resolution is optimistic yet realistically open-ended.

Thought-provoking and insightful. (author's note) (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30535-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot.

WILD IS THE WITCH

A young witch unintentionally releases a fatal curse in this frenemies-to-lovers romance.

The Foggy Mountain Wildlife Refuge on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place for Iris Gray and her mother, who, as witches, have a special affinity for helping animals but keep their magic secret. College intern Pike Alder, who assists at the sanctuary, has an incredible talent for getting under Iris’ skin and freely expresses his intense dislike and mistrust of witches. When she reaches her boiling point with his arrogance, Iris comes up with a spell to work through her frustration. Unfortunately, her magic goes awry, and the curse that should have burned away without impact instead goes into an injured owl that takes flight, leaving the sanctuary behind. With Pike accompanying her for safety at her mother’s insistence, Iris sets out into the forest to find the owl; if it dies before Iris can reverse the spell, the curse could burn Pike alive. The Pacific Northwest rainforest setting is palpable as the two trek through the backcountry in search of the owl, and their banter moves the story forward as romantic feelings start to build. Unfortunately, Iris’ repetitive internal dialogue, always reminding readers of the stakes, lessens any tension and makes subsequent scenes feel inevitable. Characters are cued as White.

A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot. (Fantasy romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-945-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

more