Mafiosa Rosa is rarely likable, but this tough survivor takes control of her own life, determined not to be controlled,...

ARCADIA BURNS

From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 2

A shape-shifting Mafia capo insists on romance amid dark family mysteries.

The death of her sister and aunt in Arcadia Awakens (2012) have left Rosa Alcantara the head of a Sicilian Mafia clan. Her love affair with Alessandro, capo of the rival Carnevare family, makes both of them vulnerable to vicious members of their own families. It's bad enough that they lead different Cosa Nostra clans, but their magical abilities are at odds as well. The Alcantaras become giant snakes, while the Carnevares become panthers, leopards and lions. Rosa mostly ignores the family business while she investigates the brutal rape she endured a year and a half before. Her investigations reveal unsettling truths: Nothing in her pre-Mafia past, neither the rape nor the death of her father, is unrelated to Cosa Nostra. Her own family has engaged in heinous crimes against her and the rest of the Mafia. A climactic battle—partially described in a six-page cellphone conversation between Rosa and Alessandro—ties up a few loose ends and leaves the rest for the next volume.

Mafiosa Rosa is rarely likable, but this tough survivor takes control of her own life, determined not to be controlled, assaulted, lied to or—quite literally—devoured . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-200608-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

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