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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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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Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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