A gloriously ferocious and scorching blaze.

HELL FOLLOWED WITH US

In the aftermath of a plague, a furious transgender boy seeks to end the movement that plans to wield him for their genocide in the name of salvation.

On Judgment Day, the Angels, a cult of White, Evangelical Christian eco-fascists, released the Flood upon the world—a plague to purge the unfaithful—but their work remains unfinished until they unleash their final weapon. Benji, a White trans boy, couldn’t escape the Angels before they injected him with Seraph, a plague mutation engineered to transform him into an abomination in control of the Flood and all its monstrous creations. However, when he’s ambushed by nonbelievers who present him with an opportunity, Benji joins forces with their resistance, determined to fight the Angels with whatever time he has left. This cinematically gory apocalyptic horror not only delivers high stakes, fast-paced action, and fraught romantic drama, it engages critically with the intertwining impacts of colonialism, capitalism, and White supremacy. The resistance truthfully depicts diversity within queerness while also holding White queer people accountable for gatekeeping and upholding White supremacy. The narrative focuses primarily on Benji’s point of view but shifts strategically with shorter sections showing the perspectives of his two romantic interests, including Nick, a White, cisgender autistic boy who plays a significant role in the resistance. A restorative, hopeful resolution brings the story to a satisfying close without turning Benji into a savior.

A gloriously ferocious and scorching blaze. (Dystopian/horror. 15-18)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68263-324-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Peachtree Teen

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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Perhaps a more genuinely enlightened protagonist would have made this debut more engaging

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER

Audrey Rose Wadsworth, 17, would rather perform autopsies in her uncle’s dark laboratory than find a suitable husband, as is the socially acceptable rite of passage for a young, white British lady in the late 1800s.

The story immediately brings Audrey into a fractious pairing with her uncle’s young assistant, Thomas Cresswell. The two engage in predictable rounds of “I’m smarter than you are” banter, while Audrey’s older brother, Nathaniel, taunts her for being a girl out of her place. Horrific murders of prostitutes whose identities point to associations with the Wadsworth estate prompt Audrey to start her own investigation, with Thomas as her sidekick. Audrey’s narration is both ponderous and polemical, as she sees her pursuit of her goals and this investigation as part of a crusade for women. She declares that the slain aren’t merely prostitutes but “daughters and wives and mothers,” but she’s also made it a point to deny any alignment with the profiled victims: “I am not going as a prostitute. I am simply blending in.” Audrey also expresses a narrow view of her desired gender role, asserting that “I was determined to be both pretty and fierce,” as if to say that physical beauty and liking “girly” things are integral to feminism. The graphic descriptions of mutilated women don’t do much to speed the pace.

Perhaps a more genuinely enlightened protagonist would have made this debut more engaging . (Historical thriller. 15-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-27349-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A slasher flick spliced with Crime and Punishment, this engrossing debut novel asks complex philosophical questions in a...

NOT EVEN BONES

From the Market of Monsters series , Vol. 1

An adolescent, yet Nietzschean, examination of humanity and horror.

Nita is a monster. Literally. She can heal her own wounds and even block her pain receptors. But she and her mother also deal in monsters, species regulated by the International Non-Human Police, selling their body parts on the black market. Her ghoulish mother hunts and kills, while Nita dissects them with a meditative grace, trying to think of herself as innocent. But when Nita’s conscience inconveniently prevents her from vivisecting a live specimen, she’s kidnapped and taken to the Amazon, caged by people in the same business. Menaced by a zannie (creatures that feed off physical pain) and a ruthless woman, Nita, who is mixed species (with a brown-skinned human father and a nonhuman mother), has to figure out how to escape and whether she has any morals to live by. The vivid setting, Mercado de la Muerte (one of several Death Markets worldwide) in a sweltering South American jungle populated by buyers, sellers, and sold, is matched by a zipping plot interspersed with deliciously horrifying and gory scenes of dismemberment and destruction. Equally intriguing is the constant musing on what makes a monster, how people respond to trauma and control, and how one’s choices affirm or deny one’s own humanity.

A slasher flick spliced with Crime and Punishment, this engrossing debut novel asks complex philosophical questions in a pleasingly hard-to-stomach way. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-86354-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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