If an “exhilarating dystopia” strikes you as oxymoronic, this vivid, original debut just might change your mind

THE INTERROGATION OF ASHALA WOLF

From the Tribe series , Vol. 1

A dystopian adventure from Australia breaks the mold.

Betrayed, then captured by Connor, a Detention Center enforcer posing as a sympathizer to the so-called Illegals, Ashala steels herself for harsh questioning. The center is rumored to have a new tool, a machine that can pull and search memories from the minds of prisoners. Ashala’s terrified she’ll expose the Tribe that depends on her—children born with extraordinary powers into a world that sees them as a threat to the precarious ecological Balance that’s endured since a cataclysm nearly ended life on the planet. Most children with these abilities are forced into lifelong detention, their powers muted. Ashala was able to hide her Sleepwalking abilities; her little sister, a Firestarter, wasn’t so lucky. The inferno that ensued killed her and their parents and prompted Ashala’s escape to the grasslands and forest beyond the city. Ashala has depended on the counsel and friendship of Georgie, who sees possible futures; Ember, whose complex gift involves working with memory; and Connor, whom she trusted. But as the machine does its work, Ashala finds unexpected strength inside what she re-experiences. All is not as it seems as the plot unwinds into the past. The indigenous Australian author draws from a vast, rich cultural tapestry that will be new to many readers.

If an “exhilarating dystopia” strikes you as oxymoronic, this vivid, original debut just might change your mind . (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6988-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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