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AFTER THE END

Attractive characters and the fresh, present-day setting should hook genre fans.

Plum serves up another paranormal-suspense series opener.

Seventeen-year-old Juneau lives in the wilds of post-apocalyptic Alaska, where elder Whit is teaching her to become clan Sage, to connect her mind with the Yara. This mystical energy enables her to Read distant events and people’s motivations and to Conjure, allowing her to manipulate objects remotely and even to become briefly invisible. Returning from a hunting expedition, Juneau discovers that helicopters have attacked her village and carried off everyone in it. She begins to track them down, then discovers that the story she had been told all her life is a lie: She and her clan are not survivors of World War III, supposedly fought in 1984. Instead of devastation, she finds the vibrant contemporary city of Anchorage. Going undercover in a modern world she doesn’t understand, Juneau begins to lose her paranormal powers. Meeting Miles, the son of the powerful man behind the underlying plot, she partners uneasily with him in a trek across the west in search of her clan. The story morphs from paranormal exploration to a chase thriller as Juneau narrowly eludes her pursuers. Miles and Juneau trade narration duties, their present-tense voices nicely distinct; Juneau speaks formally, with a slightly archaic accent, while Miles uses a pleasantly normal contemporary vernacular.

Attractive characters and the fresh, present-day setting should hook genre fans. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-222560-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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THE REAPPEARANCE OF RACHEL PRICE

Readers will be captivated by this twisty thriller and its uncompromising protagonist.

The mother Annabel Price thought was dead returns with a story about where she’s been—but 18-year-old Bel knows she’s lying.

Ever since Rachel Price’s unexplained disappearance 16 years ago, true-crime fans have come up with plentiful theories about what happened. Bel and her family members, who are white, cobbled together lives for themselves after a jury found Bel’s father, Charlie, not guilty of murdering his wife. Beset with medical bills for his elderly father, Charlie recently agreed to participate in a documentary about the unsolved mystery. Black British filmmaker Ramsey Lee is well into the process of interviewing the Prices when his project gets an unanticipated boost after an exhausted, disheveled Rachel staggers back into town. Rachel is eager to resume her role in the family, but the inconsistencies in her accounts raise alarms for Bel. With the help of the youngest member of the filmmaking team, Bel sets out to learn what really happened. Along the way, someone else disappears, and Bel uncovers a tangle of lies that make it impossible for her to trust people she thought she knew. When things come to a head the night of her grandfather’s 85th birthday party, Bel ends up in a race for her life. The last quarter of the novel tears along at a breakneck pace before arriving at a satisfying and unexpected conclusion.

Readers will be captivated by this twisty thriller and its uncompromising protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593374207

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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