Appropriately enough, lots of fun on multiple levels.

WHILE YOU WERE GONE

From the Duplexity series , Vol. 2

The other half of the parallel-universe story begun in Now That You’re Here (2014).

No recap’s given, as this story has the same starting point as the previous novel, just different narrators: the other Danny, who wakes up in a different dimension, and the Eevee native to it. This Eevee’s a passionate artist instead of an academic; the daughter of the powerful governor, she nevertheless chafes against the widespread political censorship of art. Despite the big changes between worlds (this Phoenix is on the coast), the biggest shock for Danny is discovering that in this dimension his parents are alive. This Danny and Eevee are connected by fate and by this universe’s Warren, still a supergenius and Eevee’s friend but also with secret ties to various entities, including the anti-government group the other Danny was involved in prior to the explosion. Danny and Eevee have off-the-charts chemistry. The nonromantic storylines—Eevee’s competition for a shot at a foreign art school placement and Danny’s quick immersion in his parallel self’s light rebellion via graffiti—allow the characters to develop outside of their romance. The overarching plot involves fighting the increasingly dystopian society’s latest and most-intrusive-yet surveillance program, and it weaves seamlessly into the dimension hopping. The novel’s tense and exciting throughout, but the ending is far too abrupt and will leave readers demanding the next installment promptly.

Appropriately enough, lots of fun on multiple levels. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75392-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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