A fast-moving tale of obsession and redemption.

THE FIXES

Capilano High School student Eric Connelly finds that first love can have explosive consequences.

Eric is supposed to become a Connelly Man like his father, Sen. Donovan Connelly, by following the Plan: take a summer internship in a law firm, attend Stanford, build a career in corporate law, have a fine family, and run for office. He must “LIVE UP TO HIS POTENTIAL,” “MEET EXPECTATIONS,” and never, ever, “TARNISH THE FAMILY NAME.” The problem is that “Connelly Men do not hook up with guys,” and Eric has a crush on Jordan Grant, a rich, handsome, “one-way ticket to nowhere.” With Eric and a couple of girls, Jordan forms the Suicide Pack, and the four white students embark on a series of “fixes,” supposedly to fight the corruption and hypocrisy of their town. But it’s a descent into chaos—trashing offices, shoplifting, stealing cars, making bombs, and committing murder. The third-person omniscient narrator never lets the reader forget that Eric is a Connelly Man, even as Eric is anything but, though Eric’s training does, perhaps, allow for “Redemption. (Kind of.)” Matthews’ stylized, telegraphic prose style of short words, short sentences, and frequent, short (even one-word) chapters comes in handy as the story gathers momentum for a riveting final fifth, as Eric must find a way to stop the escalating violence.

A fast-moving tale of obsession and redemption. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-233689-7

Page Count: 528

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls.

THUNDERHEAD

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 2

Death proves impermanent in this sequel to Scythe (2016).

In a world run by the (almost) all-powerful and (almost) omniscient artificial intelligence Thunderhead, only the Honorable Scythes deal permanent death to near-immortal humans. Yet a growing contingent of scythes, feared and flattered by society and operating outside the Thunderhead’s control, are proving rather dishonorable. No longer apprentices, 18-year-olds Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch realize “the scythedom is…high school with murder” as they watch their fellow scythes jockey for power and prestige. Citra now gleans as Scythe Anastasia, questioning the status quo but also opposing the homicidally enthusiastic “new-order” scythes and their dangerous demagogue. Self-appointed as Scythe Lucifer, Rowan hunts other scythes whom he deems corrupt. Meanwhile, the existentially troubled Thunderhead questions its role as both creation and caretaker of humanity, sworn not to take life but fearing that its utopia will otherwise collapse into dystopia. Nationality and race are minimally mentioned—ethnic biases and genocide are considered very gauche—yet a population that defies death, aging, sickness, poverty, and war risks becoming bleakly homogenous, alleviated only by “unsavories” and scythes. This sequel digs deeper into Shusterman’s complex world and complicated characters, offering political maneuvering, fatal conspiracies, and impending catastrophe via a slowly unfurling plot and startling bursts of action.

Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7245-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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