A brave, wickedly funny novel about grief and finding a way to live with it, with sweetly realistic first sexual experiences.

STAND-OFF

From the Winger series , Vol. 2

Fifteen-year-old Ryan Dean West, who skipped two grades in school, returns for his senior year at an Oregon boarding school in this follow-up to Winger (2013).

During his junior year, Ryan Dean started a relationship with kind, smart, beautiful Annie and endured the horrific loss of his rugby teammate and best friend, Joey, after he was murdered for being gay. Coming back to Pine Mountain Academy after the summer, he finds, much to his dismay, that he's been assigned to a tiny dorm room with a 12-year-old adorably earnest freshman, Sam, and the gradual, wonderfully weird (and grudging, on Ryan Dean's part) friendship that develops between the two is at once poignant and hilarious. He also grapples with shattering anxiety attacks, and though his love of drawing comics persists, a shadowy figure he calls Nate (an acronym for the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) continually rears his head in them now, which troubles Annie, who thinks he should talk to a psychologist. Intense rugby scenes transcend exposition, and Ryan Dean's brainy, self-deprecating wit shines, as when he muses after being jolted to the ground during practice about an imagined ice cream flavor called Failure-Pain Swirl. Bosma contributes Ryan Dean’s spot illustrations, comic strips, and charts, and occasional footnotes further add to the narrative fun

A brave, wickedly funny novel about grief and finding a way to live with it, with sweetly realistic first sexual experiences. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1829-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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

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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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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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