Formulaic but fun, which makes all the difference.

IF I SHOULD DIE

From the Die for Me series , Vol. 3

The Die for Me series about an American teenager involved with undead revenants in Paris concludes.

Courageous, loyal Kate mourns not the death, which is a normal occurrence for revenants, but the cremation of her undead boyfriend, Vincent, at the hands of Violette, leader of the evil numa. Vincent can’t come back to life if his body no longer exists. Luckily, Kate and Bran, the revenants’ healer assistant, unearth a ceremony that might restore him but only if they also can find the ancient, lost equipment necessary. With or without Vincent, the book continues with preparation for battle, then actual battle, with plenty of well-paced tension. Appropriately spaced romantic interludes provide variety. The major plot point is the identity of a prophesied champion, destined to win the battle between good and evil, at least in Paris, for now, and of course, the heroine faces the usual insurmountable odds. Fortunately, this series doesn’t take itself completely seriously. Plum includes fairly frequent tongue-in-cheek humor lampooning her own plot—“my safety was at risk because of an evil undead medieval teenager”—which helps lift the book above standard undead fare. Yes, it’s the usual mishmash of romance and the supernatural, but the author keeps the narrative moving along at a sprightly pace and handles the suspense well.

Formulaic but fun, which makes all the difference. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-200403-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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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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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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