Quiet yet thought-provoking.

I LOVE I HATE I MISS MY SISTER

A teen grapples with both her own identity and the role identity played in her sister’s death in this French import.

It’s been one year since Muslim Sohane’s younger sister, Djelila, was burned alive by religious extremists in their apartment building in the projects. She recounts the incidents leading up to Djelila’s death, using present tense to place readers directly in the scenes and past tense as she recalls what happened from her current state of grief. Sohane and Djelila remain fierce allies, but Sohane questioningly (and sometimes jealously) notices that her sister has started to break away from their family’s Muslim traditions by sporting tight clothes and drinking alcohol. She, on the other hand, explores her religious and feminist beliefs (“Is it possible to be a woman and Muslim at the same time?”) by wearing the hijab. Both sisters’ actions are noticed immediately. Djelila becomes a source of contempt by a Taliban-like gang, while Sohane is expelled from high school for wearing a headscarf thanks to a French law that requires strict separation of church and state. The story, based on actual events, never becomes a question of whether Sohane should wear her headscarf but ruminates on how young people cope with being siblings, second-generation immigrants, feminists and believers. Rather than overwhelming the narration, these themes twine together powerfully.

Quiet yet thought-provoking. (glossary, author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74376-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A worthy successor to an explosive debut.

BLOODMARKED

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 2

After Awakening the dormant spirit of her ancestor King Arthur Pendragon, almost-17-year-old Briana Matthews must fight to learn and control her magical inheritances.

As a Black person who also possesses the ability to use Root, a form of magic borrowed from deceased practitioners and passed down to her through her mother’s family, Bree is unique in the Line of Pendragon. It is through blood and violence that Bree’s magical abilities intertwined—both those from Arthur’s Welsh origins and from her family’s Bloodcraft originating during chattel slavery in the American South. Together they have turned her into one of the most powerful people either Line has ever known. The intricacies of her navigation of her new powers are at the heart of this sequel to Legendborn (2020), especially as Bree balances the knowledge that her Blackness creates a critical distance between her and the racist people she is sworn to protect as the king of all Legendborns. The plot is complex, and the morsels of information that help fill in the gaps of knowledge don’t always feel fully formed, which may leave readers confused as they try to keep up with the new powers and beings that are presented. Still, there are important, if hard to read, references, for example, when Bree is kidnapped and experimented on by an all-White council, a turn of events that reflects Deonn’s commitment to presenting unflinching truths about the cyclical insidiousness of racism.

A worthy successor to an explosive debut. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4163-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Summery fun and games with feeling.

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN RULES

A summer trip helps break 18-year-old Meredith Fox out of a haze of mourning.

Her cousin’s wedding means a return to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-loved destination but one filled with bittersweet memories. It’s been a year and a half since the sudden loss of Meredith’s sister, Claire, and the grief remains strong. Meredith, though, resolves to take this time to celebrate family and bridge the rifts resulting from ghosting friends. She didn’t plan on a meet-cute/embarrassing encounter with the groom’s stepbrother, Wit. Nor did she expect a wedding-week game of Assassin, a water-gun–fueled family tradition. What starts off as a pact of sharing strategic information with Wit grows into something more as the flirting and feelings develop. Only one person can win, though, and any alliance has an expiration date. To win and honor Claire, who was a master of the game, Meredith must keep her eye on the prize. Taking place over the course of a week, the narrative is tight with well-paced reveals that disrupt predictability and keep the plot moving. Early details are picked back up, and many elements come satisfyingly full circle. The short time frame also heightens the tension of this summer romance: What will happen when they leave the bubble of the Vineyard? The mix of budding romance, competitive hijinks, a close-knit circle, as well as dealing with loss make for a satisfying read. The main cast is White.

Summery fun and games with feeling. (family tree) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-029-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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