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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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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

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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