Whether they'll feel motivated to pick up the next three books is anyone's guess.

WAKE

From the Watersong series , Vol. 1

In self-publishing phenom Hocking’s (Ascend, 2012) disappointing foray into new paranormal territory, one night of partying on the beach leaves 16-year-old Gemma with more than a hangover.

When the initial fog of her late night at the cove with a trio of sirens (more frequently, and unimaginatively, referred to as “weird pretty girls”) wears off, Gemma discovers that she is stronger, faster and more beautiful than ever. (Readers might have found this transformation more compelling if Gemma weren’t already strong and beautiful, also graceful and endowed with honey-colored eyes.) Now she just has to choose between the life she loves and the lure of her newfound mythical powers. The question is, will readers care? The “should I stay or should I go” tension at the heart of the story would be a lot more effective if the ties that bind Gemma's broken family together were more fully developed. Her father is practically nonexistent. Her mother, mentally impaired and incapable of taking care of anyone, including herself, lives in an assisted-care facility. The only constant is Gemma’s older sister Harper, whose need to look out for her feels more like an obsessive yearning for control than real emotion. In the end, it’s secondary characters, like the girls’ love interests, who will sustain readers determined to make it to the final page.

Whether they'll feel motivated to pick up the next three books is anyone's guess. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00812-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come.

THE WICKED KING

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 2

A heady blend of courtly double-crossing, Faerie lore, and toxic attraction swirls together in the sequel to The Cruel Prince (2018).

Five months after engineering a coup, human teen Jude is starting to feel the strain of secretly controlling King Cardan and running his Faerie kingdom. Jude’s self-loathing and anger at the traumatic events of her childhood (her Faerie “dad” killed her parents, and Faerie is not a particularly easy place even for the best-adjusted human) drive her ambition, which is tempered by her desire to make the world she loves and hates a little fairer. Much of the story revolves around plotting (the Queen of the Undersea wants the throne; Jude’s Faerie father wants power; Jude’s twin, Taryn, wants her Faerie betrothed by her side), but the underlying tension—sexual and political—between Jude and Cardan also takes some unexpected twists. Black’s writing is both contemporary and classic; her world is, at this point, intensely well-realized, so that some plot twists seem almost inevitable. Faerie is a strange place where immortal, multihued, multiformed denizens can’t lie but can twist everything; Jude—who can lie—is an outlier, and her first-person, present-tense narration reveals more than she would choose. With curly dark brown hair, Jude and Taryn are never identified by race in human terms.

A rare second volume that surpasses the first, with, happily, more intrigue and passion still to come. (map) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31035-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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