A fantastical surf-and-turf romance.

WATERFELL

From the Aquarathi series , Vol. 1

A coming-of-age story complicated by regicide, superhuman powers, the duty to protect a kingdom and one hot surfer.

Despite Rissa Marin’s prowess at field hockey, her body aches for the sea—but once in the water, things get complicated. Rissa is no ordinary 16-year-old. Although she appears human, Rissa is actually Aquarathi, an alien race of sea creatures with superhuman powers that intensify in water. As heir to the throne of the deep-sea Aquarathi kingdom of Waterfell, Rissa has been sent on land to intermingle with humans in preparation for her role as queen. While she is there, Rissa’s father is murdered, making her fearful to return to Waterfell to face her father’s killer and rightfully claim her throne. Despite her sense of duty, Rissa’s fear paralyzes her, and she grows content in her human guise—so much so that she unexpectedly finds herself falling for the new, attractive surfer, Lo, who mysteriously arrives at her school. Although the tale starts off slowly, thoroughly introducing Rissa and her fantastical race, it pays off; as it quickly picks up the pace, Rissa and her painful dilemma both compel. Just the first installment in a series, this text nevertheless delivers a complete story arc while leaving enough loose ends to make the next installments tempting.

A fantastical surf-and-turf romance. (Paranormal romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-21105-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Several yards short of a touchdown.

STAY GOLD

A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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