This quirky tale of love and time travel demands that readers totally suspend disbelief to enjoy some of the more contrived...

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THE HERE AND NOW

In a stark departure, Brashares, of Traveling Pants fame, returns with a lightning-paced sci-fi time-travel romp that, much like a cinematic blockbuster, offers intrigue, romance and a healthy dose of implausibility.

After blood plague ravages her world, Prenna James emigrates with a group of refugees, known as travelers. However, it’s not where she ends up, it’s when. Her community tries to assimilate into a society decades in the past, with stringent rules about how they must conduct themselves in the time natives’ society. Predictably, Prenna falls in love with Ethan, a handsome time native—one of the gravest offenses a traveler might commit—and quickly learns that her tightly knit authoritarian community may indeed be harboring secrets. Brashares’ worldbuilding is solid, and she handles the time-travel elements with a fluid, cinematic ease. Unfortunately, she relies too much on dei ex machina to propel Ethan and Prenna forward. Cars, money and opportunity pop up with uncannily good timing and convenience, helping the time-crossed lovers right the wrongs of the past. Those willing to overlook such shortcuts will surely be swept into the whirlwind romance and breathlessly turn pages to discover if there truly is a possibility for a better future.

This quirky tale of love and time travel demands that readers totally suspend disbelief to enjoy some of the more contrived plot elements . (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-73680-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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