Ever respectful of the capacity of its readers, this series offers a satisfying conclusion of potential rather than a neatly...

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CHAMPION

From the Legend series , Vol. 3

This exhilarating finale to the dystopian Legend trilogy delivers on the promises of the genre without ever being predictable about details.

June and Day are finally on the right side of the law, but nothing’s gotten any easier. June, the former soldier, is now one of three Princeps-Elect, next in line to lead the Senate. Day, “most-wanted-criminal-turned-national-hero,” is now the face of popular support for the young Elector. The future’s dazzlingly bright, right? In fact, from their high perches, June and Day can see everything about to go horrifyingly wrong. The Elector knows the Colonies are about to invade, and he thinks a plague cure will save the day—a cure he’s convinced they’ll discover by experimenting on Day’s brother, Eden. Day will never let the Republic have his brother again; he barely got Eden back alive after the first time they took him for medical experiments. On the other hand, since Day is dying, it’s not clear what he can do for Eden or the Republic. Brief international travel expands the worldbuilding of this universe: June and Day had encountered the capitalist dystopia of the Colonies in Prodigy (2012), while June here encounters the seemingly more idyllic society-as-game of Ross City, Antarctica. A civilization run as if it were “The Sims” is intriguing, and it’s disappointing that June spends little time there, but there’s plenty of betrayal and action to resolve back in the Republic.

Ever respectful of the capacity of its readers, this series offers a satisfying conclusion of potential rather than a neatly wrapped denouement . (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25677-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER

A teenage, not-so-lonely loner endures the wilds of high school in Austin, Texas.

Norris Kaplan, the protagonist of Philippe’s debut novel, is a hypersweaty, uber-snarky black, Haitian, French-Canadian pushing to survive life in his new school. His professor mom’s new tenure-track job transplants Norris mid–school year, and his biting wit and sarcasm are exposed through his cataloging of his new world in a field guide–style burn book. He’s greeted in his new life by an assortment of acquaintances, Liam, who is white and struggling with depression; Maddie, a self-sacrificing white cheerleader with a heart of gold; and Aarti, his Indian-American love interest who offers connection. Norris’ ego, fueled by his insecurities, often gets in the way of meaningful character development. The scenes showcasing his emotional growth are too brief and, despite foreshadowing, the climax falls flat because he still gets incredible personal access to people he’s hurt. A scene where Norris is confronted by his mother for getting drunk and belligerent with a white cop is diluted by his refusal or inability to grasp the severity of the situation and the resultant minor consequences. The humor is spot-on, as is the representation of the black diaspora; the opportunity for broader conversations about other topics is there, however, the uneven buildup of detailed, meaningful exchanges and the glibness of Norris’ voice detract.

Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-282411-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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