Often grim, sometimes gory, and occasionally sentimental.

THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK

Able to see the future, a tattooed traveler wonders if she can change it.

It’s been several years since the long-feuding Riki and Aska clans united to fight the “demon” Herja invaders in Young’s debut Sky in the Deep (2018), and the once-bitter enemies have formed unexpected families and friendships. A chief-in-training, 18-year-old Halvard is supposed to lead the newly forged Nādhir in peacetime but instead faces war. Reviled rather than revered by the Svell, Tova—whose tattoos mark her as a Kyrr Truthtongue—predicts the future by reading rune stones and interpreting the Fate Spinners’ plans but cannot remember her own past. (Mis)led by violent Vigdis and their Tala’s (mis)interpretations of Tova’s visions, the ambitious Svell attack the unprepared Nādhir. Soon, battle-untested Halvard races to protect his people while Tova tries to survive the Svell. The forests and fjords suggest a Scandinavian setting, and the weaponry indicates a medieval era. Aside from Tova’s seer skills, the tale skews more history than fantasy; tribal gods are worshipped but not witnessed. Battles are described in precise, cinematic detail, as are their terrible consequences, yet resist glorifying violence. Halvard and Tova's world is described as brutal and beautiful—their personal struggles with identity, fate, and community shine against the minimalistic plot and slowly building tension. Even amid violence, the protagonists recognize the humanity of their enemies (or once-enemies, now-allies), and even villains are explored sympathetically.

Often grim, sometimes gory, and occasionally sentimental. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-16848-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more