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A romantic story with serious elements that will have readers wringing their hands and holding their breath.

In this sequel to 2023’s The Prince and the Apocalypse, an 18-year-old American girl tries to return to normal life following the threat of a global apocalypse—and the heartache of a lost first love.

Wren Wheeler isn’t sure if she’s legally married to the soon-to-be king of England. Was their sudden marriage of necessity on a Greek island during what was supposed to be everyone’s last week on Earth really binding? After she returns to Chicago following Comet Week, Wren receives a marriage certificate bearing Crown Prince Theo’s signature and legal name, not the fake name she’d assumed he’d use. Desperate to know the truth—and reunite with the dog she left behind when she walked away from Theo in an act of altruism—Wren, along with best friend Naomi and older sister Brooke, travels to see Theodore Geoffrey Edward George. But, as with their last adventure, nothing goes right for the couple. Plagued by the paparazzi, controlled by the Firm, and concerned about protecting each other, Wren and Theo face numerous obstacles, not least of which are his family and a plane crash into the ocean near a deserted island. This action-packed, fast-paced story can stand alone, but having familiarity with the earlier book will help readers connect more deeply with the characters. The supporting characters’ witty dialogue balances the leads’ somewhat repetitively conveyed fears. Most characters are cued white.

A romantic story with serious elements that will have readers wringing their hands and holding their breath. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781250873071

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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