Sinister and twisted, this Faustian page-turner enlightens as it frightens.

DREAMS COME TO LIFE

From the Bendy and the Ink Machine series , Vol. 1

Kress (The Quest for the Kid, 2019, etc.) creates a hair-raising tale based on the popular survival horror video game “Bendy and the Ink Machine.”

She capitalizes on its survivalist plot and creepy ambience by setting her story—like the video game—largely on the premises of Joey Drew Studios, a New York City–based production house dedicated to creating “Bendy” cartoons. Emulating the shifting perspective of this genre, in which players have less control than in a typical action video game, the 16-year-old Jewish protagonist, Daniel “Buddy” Lewek, begins his story by ominously looking back to the summer of 1946, warning readers that while dreams may come true, nightmares do as well. Though somewhat cagey as a narrator, Buddy is an extremely likable character, having dropped out of school to help support his recently widowed mother. He’s now dealing with the unannounced arrival to their Lower East Side tenement of his Polish grandfather, who speaks little English, is pale and shockingly thin, and has strange numbers tattooed on his arm. Buddy thinks his dreams of financial solvency and becoming an artist are about to become a reality when Mister Drew hires him to be an errand boy and art apprentice, but he soon discovers something as dark as the ink that animates the Bendy figures lurks in the Drew Studios halls, forcing him to reexamine his entire worldview.

Sinister and twisted, this Faustian page-turner enlightens as it frightens. (Horror. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-34394-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.

THE FEAR

This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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