Beautifully haunting and sure to keep readers up all night.

OUR LAST ECHOES

A search for her long-lost mother leads Sophia to a mysterious island where the mist hides supernatural secrets.

Eighteen-year-old Sophia Novak grew up in foster care after her mother allegedly died when she was 3. But after a girl named Abby Ryder contacts her out of the blue asking questions about her connection to Bitter Rock—a remote island off the coast of Alaska and the site of several previous disappearances—Sophia talks her way into an internship studying birds at the island’s research center. Upon arriving, she’s immediately warned of the danger of going out in the mist. She teams up with Abby and Liam Kapoor, the son of one of the researchers, as they investigate myriad strange phenomena, from Sophia’s reflection—which does not accurately match her—to the appearance of an ominous six-winged beast. Filled with chilling moments, Marshall’s fantastically immersive narrative is peppered with documentary-style transcriptions of audio and video recordings—including flashbacks that slowly tease out the story of what happened the night Sophia’s mother disappeared. Occasional interviews with paranormal researcher Dr. Ashford contain a thread that connects to Marshall’s Rules for Vanishing (2019). Sophia is White; the supporting cast is broadly diverse.

Beautifully haunting and sure to keep readers up all night. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11362-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Sweet, honest, and filled with personality.

SHE GETS THE GIRL

Many begin college with hopes of personal reinvention, and Alex Blackwood and Molly Parker are no exception.

Apparently opposite in every way, both girls nevertheless arrive for their freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh with the same goal in mind: to fundamentally change the way others perceive them and get their dream girls. Easy-peasy. Molly, whose mom is a transracial adoptee from Korea and whose father is assumed White, was socially anxious in high school. She worries that her close friendship with her mother holds her back. Willowy, blond Alex, who is implied White, has never once found herself at a loss in a social situation, and yet her fairy-tale story of adolescent beauty and wit is tempered by having a single mom whose struggles with alcohol abuse meant shouldering responsibilities far beyond her years. Utilizing tried and true tropes, married couple Lippincott and Derrick cut right to the heart of the matter when it comes to the mysteries of romance. Queerness itself is never the motivator of the drama, and gratifyingly, both girls find in one another the means to explore and unpack complexities of life unrelated to their sexualities. Nothing is made simplistic—not Alex’s relationship to self-expression and conventional beauty standards, nor Molly’s experiences of culture and community in a world that has expectations of her based on her racial identity.

Sweet, honest, and filled with personality. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9379-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations.

CARAVAL

From the Caraval series , Vol. 1

Magic, mystery, and love intertwine and invite in this newest take on the “enchanted circus” trope.

Sisters raised by their abusive father, a governor of a colonial backwater in a world vaguely reminiscent of the late 18th century, Scarlett and Donatella each long for something more. Scarlett, olive-skinned, dark of hair and attitude, longs for Caraval, the fabled, magical circus helmed by the possibly evil Master Legend Santos, while blonde, sunny Tella finds comfort in drink and the embraces of various men. A slightly awkward start, with inconsistencies of attitude and setting, rapidly smooths out when they, along with handsome “golden-brown” sailor Julian, flee to Caraval on the eve of Scarlett’s arranged marriage. Tella disappears, and Scarlett must navigate a nighttime world of magic to find her. Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. Dresses can be purchased for secrets or days of life; clocks can become doors; bridges move: this is an inventive and original circus, laced with an edge of horror. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets.

Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-09525-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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