You might not learn to love the bomb, but you will love this book.

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THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF THE MAKING OF THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION

Truth and fiction blur after Laura Ratliff wins a walk-on role in a Hollywood nuclear disaster film set in her small town.

Living on the nukemap—one of the top Soviet nuclear targets in the U.S.—leaves Laura more than a little bit anxious. It’s 1984, her junior year of high school, and the threat of “Mutually Assured Destruction” is on everyone’s mind. To make matters worse, Laura’s mother (who is white like Laura) had an affair with and later married a black man. The scandal was the talk of Griffin Flat, Arkansas, population 8,000, but one good thing that came out of it was her stepbrother, Terrence. Since the divorce, Laura rarely sees her father, a member of a special Air Force squadron responsible for intercontinental ballistic missile sites. Things seem to be looking up after Laura wins a local radio contest and a small part in Eve of Destruction, bringing Terrence along as her invited guest. Then Laura’s father begins making strange phone calls. This tragicomic story of Laura and her motley crew is a page-turner from start to finish. Laura’s penchant for pop culture, history, and science trivia, presented in explanatory footnotes throughout, brings the late Cold War–era to life. A clever, superbly written, laugh-out-loud-hilarious story within a story and movie within a movie about nuclear war anxiety in small-town America.

You might not learn to love the bomb, but you will love this book. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61695-903-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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