A debut with great characters and huge nerd appeal.

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NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE

From the Duplexity series , Vol. 1

A science-minded girl falls for a graffiti artist—the catch, though, is that he’s from a parallel universe.

When a bomb goes off in Danny’s dystopian-flavored universe, he’s somehow blasted into Eevee’s reality, which resembles readers’. Danny latches onto Eevee as a familiar face, even though he only met her counterpart in his world briefly—and her personality there is different. This Eevee’s a nerd rather than artist (though the text mathematically demonstrates how close science and art really are). While Danny’s still making sense of what has happened to him, Eevee realizes that he’s in a tough situation and helps him. The two of them work out the universe swap and with help from Eevee’s best friend and partner in science, Warren, try to puzzle out its mechanics. The chapters alternate between Eevee’s and Danny’s viewpoints. The organic sweetness of their relationship is tempered by the enthusiastic geekery of the nonromantic storylines. Real mathematical and scientific theories appear, and Eevee and Warren live and breathe cherished icons of nerd culture. While the world-jumping is fantastical, the personalities and characters (fully individual, without reaching trying-too-hard levels of quirkiness) ring true. The ending—an escalation into frantically paced scientific theorizing followed by an abrupt conclusion—is a bit of a letdown, but it leaves room for a sequel.

A debut with great characters and huge nerd appeal. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-75389-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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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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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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