DEMON IN MY VIEW

Full of atmospherics, but weak on style, this novel pits a feisty teenaged novelist against a community of vampires in the next town over. Jessica is a high school senior who has always felt like an outsider in her town—she lives with an adoptive mother (no one is sure who her biological parents are), and even more unusually, she’s had a horror novel published under the pen name “Ash Night.” Jessica’s life is thrown into even more than its usual turmoil when a new boy, Alex Remington, shows up at school, a boy so like Jessica’s fictional vampire character Aubrey that Jessica begins to be unsure whether she is living in the real world or in the world of her novels. Throw in a good witch determined to save Jessica from the hunky teenager who may or may not be a danger to Jessica and you have a novel full of vampires, witches, vampire hunters, and (perhaps most evil of all) ordinary suburban adolescents. This should be more fun to read than it actually is. Atwater-Rhodes (In the Forests of the Night, 1999) wrote this at age 15, a fact the publishers are clearly planning to exploit. Not surprisingly, it reads like a work written by an inexperienced, novice writer—clichés abound and many passages are tedious or pretentious. Not bad for a 15-year-old, but not a well-written, fully realized novel either. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-385-32720-X

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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TWILIGHT

From the Twilight series , Vol. 1

Sun-loving Bella meets her demon lover in a vampire tale strongly reminiscent of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. When Bella moves to rainy Forks, Wash., to live with her father, she just wants to fit in without drawing any attention. Unfortunately, she’s drawn the eye of aloof, gorgeous and wealthy classmate Edward. His behavior toward Bella wavers wildly between apparent distaste and seductive flirtation. Bella learns Edward’s appalling (and appealing) secret: He and his family are vampires. Though Edward nobly warns Bella away, she ignores the human boys who court her and chooses her vampiric suitor. An all-vampire baseball game in a late-night thunderstorm—an amusing gothic take on American family togetherness that balances some of the tale’s romantic excesses—draws Bella and her loved ones into terrible danger. This is far from perfect: Edward’s portrayal as monstrous tragic hero is overly Byronic, and Bella’s appeal is based on magic rather than character. Nonetheless, the portrayal of dangerous lovers hits the spot; fans of dark romance will find it hard to resist. (Fantasy. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-316-16017-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic.

WHEN WE WERE MAGIC

Getting through high school requires more than a little bit of magic.

On prom night, when Alexis accidentally kills Josh Harper, she panics and summons her five best friends—Paulie, Roya, Iris, Marcelina, and Maryam—for help. Alexis knows she can rely on them, not only because of their unshakeable friendship, but because of what they have in common: the ability to do magic. Attempting to make things right, the girls cast a spell but are left with a disconnected collection of Josh’s body parts, including a cold, glassy version of his heart. They divide them up and agree to dispose of what is left of Josh, piece by piece. Alexis insists on witnessing each body-part-releasing ceremony, in the process exploring her bonds with her friends—and, in one case, feelings that go far beyond friendship. But as their relationships strengthen, the spell takes its toll: Every time they lose a body part, the girls lose something too, forcing them to rethink how they define themselves and each other. This work of speculative fiction is a profoundly thoughtful exploration of female friendship, love, growth, and identity. The fully realized characters are diverse in ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity. While the final two-thirds of the book are beautifully paced, balancing introspection and character development with plot, the first third at times feels weighed down by explanation and backstory.

An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic. (Speculative fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3287-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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