A fluffy romp with authentic teen dialogue, cardboard characters and a plot gone rogue.

GOING ROGUE

From the Also Known As series , Vol. 2

As a key member of a spy family, 17-year-old Maggie Silver discovers that allowing BFF Roux and boyfriend Jesse to get swept up in her exciting lifestyle has unforeseen consequences, including getting her friends into some seriously dangerous situations.

Raised from the age of 4 as a master safecracker, spunky Maggie is a member of the Collective, an undercover Robin Hood–style organization that works to right wrongs and prosecute bad guys. Things go badly awry when Maggie attempts to thwart a Collective member who is maneuvering to have her parents discredited and removed from the organization. High shenanigans and chases through the streets of New York erupt, with stolen Fabergé eggs, gold coins, bomb blasts and sniper attacks adding to the confusion. Maggie and friends are summarily removed by their protectors to a Paris safe house, where they meet other Collective members who have been double-crossed by the corrupt organization. Various muddled plots unravel, culminating in a denouement in the Louvre, as spies and agents try to entrap the evil Collective member. While the spy story is good fun and Maggie’s quandaries will resonate with readers, the action at times slows to a crawl with her lengthy internal monologues, and characters tend to be flat.

A fluffy romp with authentic teen dialogue, cardboard characters and a plot gone rogue. (Thriller. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3604-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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