A fun—and even funnier—thriller.

LIBERTY

THE SPY WHO (KIND OF) LIKED ME

If your journalist parents are dead—or “probably dead”—why not become a spy and an assassin?

On their way from Istanbul to Damascus, Paige Nolan’s parents disappeared amid gunfire at a checkpoint. Since then, the white, fashion-conscious, pop-culture–savvy protagonist has gone on to matriculate at Bryn Mawr, where she leads the sexually independent and alcohol-misted life of a typical college student. Dear reader, as Paige addresses “you” directly, you know that an even greater life-changing event happened at an Applebee’s restaurant. She used martial arts to disarm two guys toting AK-47s, but due to her dissociative disorder, she witnesses her actions as if outside her body and shrugs off the event. But officials (and perhaps Lord of the Rings fans) at the Reconnaissance and Intelligence AuTHority discover and recruit Paige for an information-gathering mission. In exchange for uncovering secrets of Sean Raynes, an American superhacker and whistleblower now gone to ground in Russia (akin to Edward Snowden), her parents’ case will become active. After quick training, Paige assumes the role of an exchange student at Moscow State University. The young RAITH operative navigates Russian secret agents and contacts in the mob with fast-paced action and biting wit—and perhaps while falling in love with Raynes in the process. An open ending leaves room for sequels.

A fun—and even funnier—thriller. (Thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-242199-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story.

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE

The lives of two girls named Hannah, living in different centuries on different continents, intersect.

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Dory is an English peasant living a harsh existence in 1347. Hannah Doe is a resident of Belman Psychiatric Hospital in 2023 New York City, brought in after being found on the street experiencing hallucinations and screaming something about a castle. Modern-day Hannah periodically enters a catatonic state, something the staff refer to as her “going to the castle.” Columbia psychology student Jordan Hassan is a new intern at Belman, and his interest is piqued by this girl no one knows much about. He decides to play detective and try to discover her history himself. Meanwhile, in the medieval England storyline, Hannah Dory tries to save her village from starvation by sneaking into the baron’s castle but finds herself swept up in a fight between the new baron and his rival. The book sustains a breakneck pace with short chapters and many cliffhangers that will keep readers’ interest. Patterson’s author’s note includes a list of mental health resources and describes his experience of working as an aide in a psychiatric hospital when he was a teenager. The narrative thoughtfully centers mental illness and touches on complex topics like suicide. Whiteness is the default; Jordan is cued as Muslim.

Thrill-seekers will be absorbed by this exciting story. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-41172-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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