For any lover of fairy tales who seeks alternative endings.

BEASTS AND BEAUTY

DANGEROUS TALES

A volume that transports readers to a place where the lines between beastly natures and beautiful appearances can be difficult to discern.

Here are 12 familiar European fairy tales, folktales, and classic stories retold in ways that evoke elements of the traditional versions, populated by slightly different casts, and focusing on particular aspects of their usual forms. The tales include, among others, an ironically named Snow White with dark skin, persecuted for the form her beauty takes; South Asian siblings who hopefully follow a trail of rosewater and saffron sweets after being left in the forest by their father and stepmother; and a beautiful brown-skinned prince cursed to appear as a beast and the Chinese girl who moves into his castle to spare her father’s life (the two of them bond over books). The entries are expertly crafted with a deep understanding of the source material and are updated with feminist sensibilities, the addition of some queer relationships, and the inclusion of racial and ethnic diversity. Chainani’s writing is raw in what it lays bare on the page, perfectly appropriate to revisiting these beloved, ubiquitous stories that may have left readers with naïve expectations or dissatisfied conclusions. Chainani infuses his retellings with practicality while still evoking the wonder, terror, and magic of the fantasy realms. Final illustrations not seen.

For any lover of fairy tales who seeks alternative endings. (Fantasy. 11-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-265263-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.

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SOLO

The 17-year-old son of a troubled rock star is determined to find his own way in life and love.

On the verge of adulthood, Blade Morrison wants to leave his father’s bad-boy reputation for drug-and-alcohol–induced antics and his sister’s edgy lifestyle behind. The death of his mother 10 years ago left them all without an anchor. Named for the black superhero, Blade shares his family’s connection to music but resents the paparazzi that prevent him from having an open relationship with the girl that he loves. However, there is one secret even Blade is unaware of, and when his sister reveals the truth of his heritage during a bitter fight, Blade is stunned. When he finally gains some measure of equilibrium, he decides to investigate, embarking on a search that will lead him to a small, remote village in Ghana. Along the way, he meets people with a sense of purpose, especially Joy, a young Ghanaian who helps him despite her suspicions of Americans. This rich novel in verse is full of the music that forms its core. In addition to Alexander and co-author Hess’ skilled use of language, references to classic rock songs abound. Secondary characters add texture to the story: does his girlfriend have real feelings for Blade? Is there more to his father than his inability to stay clean and sober? At the center is Blade, fully realized and achingly real in his pain and confusion.

A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told. (Verse fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-310-76183-9

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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