The fantasy/Regency/history mashup readers didn’t even know they wanted.

THE DARK DAYS PACT

From the Lady Helen series , Vol. 2

Following the events of The Dark Days Club (2016), Lady Helen is back, still grappling with propriety and power.

Amid the seasonal intrigue in Brighton, Lady Helen Wrexhall has begun her Reclaimer training in earnest, supported by a motley crew: Lady Margaret and her brother (who have an unexpected past); Delia Cransdon, not quite ruined by a failed elopement; stalwart servants Darby and Mr. Quinn (a Pacific Islander, the only person of color in a sea of Regency white); and of course the enigmatic and entirely too attractive Lord Carlston, who may be slipping into madness from his repeated encounters with the terrifying Deceivers who walk among and feed off humankind. Goodman delicately balances multiple strands, tying together a slow but steady plot that moves inexorably to an action-packed climax, with a love triangle that is thematically perfect: Selburn celebrates and cherishes Helen, while Carlston pushes her. In love as in her Reclaimer powers, Helen must determine her willingness to break the rules and be her own woman, making mistakes along the way and pushing back against those, both human and Deceiver, who seek to control her. It all plays out against an impeccably researched and detailed Regency setting, and if too much time is spent in Helen’s head—well, she has a great deal to understand, and it’s not surprising if it’s taking her time to find her way through.

The fantasy/Regency/history mashup readers didn’t even know they wanted. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-670-78548-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

THE WAY I USED TO BE

In the three years following Eden’s brutal rape by her brother’s best friend, Kevin, she descends into anger, isolation, and promiscuity.

Eden’s silence about the assault is cemented by both Kevin’s confident assurance that if she tells anyone, “No one will ever believe you. You know that. No one. Not ever,” and a chillingly believable death threat. For the remainder of Eden’s freshman year, she withdraws from her family and becomes increasingly full of hatred for Kevin and the world she feels failed to protect her. But when a friend mentions that she’s “reinventing” herself, Eden embarks on a hopeful plan to do the same. She begins her sophomore year with new clothes and friendly smiles for her fellow students, which attract the romantic attentions of a kind senior athlete. But, bizarrely, Kevin’s younger sister goes on a smear campaign to label Eden a “totally slutty disgusting whore,” which sends Eden back toward self-destruction. Eden narrates in a tightly focused present tense how she withdraws again from nearly everyone and attempts to find comfort (or at least oblivion) through a series of nearly anonymous sexual encounters. This self-centeredness makes her relationships with other characters feel underdeveloped and even puzzling at times. Absent ethnic and cultural markers, Eden and her family and classmates are likely default white.

Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4935-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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