Like fairy gold: shiny but ephemeral.


A fluffy derivative fantasy tries to stuff 20 pounds of plot into a five-pound story sack.

Eloise Hart is a normal high-school girl, hanging out with her best friends Jo and Devin in a small town sweltering through an endless dry summer. That is, until a strange boy salutes her in the ice cream parlor, the birds start behaving oddly and Eloise discovers that she has become a pawn in the struggle between a villainous Fae king and his estranged queen, with potentially deadly consequences. Told in alternating chapters by the bullied-but-quietly-strong Eloise and the quirky madcap Jo, the story serves up two stereotypical teen heroines for the price of one, although they (and their sadly underdeveloped geeky friend Devin) share the same indistinguishable snark-riddled voice. There's also a double helping of Mysterious Hot Guys, in the Gallant Protector and Brooding Bad Boy flavors, both of whom fall madly in reciprocated love with the narrators before they've had a chance to exchange more than a few sentences or even names. The plot clips along briskly, rapidly tossing in assorted tidbits of fairy lore from shapeshifters to kelpies to Victorian pixies, mixing an admirable depiction of friendship and some arresting imagery with too many clunky metaphors and painfully cheesy dialogue. If it's all very shallow and predictable, it's also breezy and entertaining, with a diverting blend of chills, humor and spunk.

Like fairy gold: shiny but ephemeral. (Urban fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2189-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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