A neatly done murder mystery underneath the psychology.

THE TELLING

Lana divides her life between “before,” when her stepbrother Ben was alive, and “after” his murder.

The white teen doesn’t want to believe he’s really dead, but she saw his body being dragged away, felt the blood that had sprayed onto her. She wants to think somehow his spirit lingers, protecting her, but she knows that instead she has become more willing to defend herself. She now hangs reasonably easily with the popular crowd, until she discovers the dead body of Ben’s former girlfriend, Maggie. The police at first believe she and her friends murdered Maggie, but events prove that instead they are gradually becoming victims. Lana knows a bit more about the murders than she’s willing to tell, and she and her friends decide to pursue their own investigations—but her own actions may put her in real danger, even after the murderer has been caught. If Ben were alive, the victims might believably be his, but there really is no question that Ben is dead…right? Or could Lana be suffering from PTSD–induced memory lapses arising from Ben’s murder? Sirowy’s present-tense narrative gives narrator Lana plenty of room for introspection, as the girl examines her life and her own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. While the action sometimes drags a bit with all of Lana’s musings, when another murder occurs the pace picks up nicely.

A neatly done murder mystery underneath the psychology. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1889-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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

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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