It’s hard to get invested in a love story when one of the partners is an unknowable black hole

HOW TO DISAPPEAR

Two teens are set on a collision course with sexy results.

Nicolette Holland is on the run. She’s changed her name and her hair and fully intends to disappear as fast as possible. Jack Manx, son of a mob big shot, is blackmailed into finding Nicolette and making sure no one else does. The circumstances revolving around Nicolette’s importance are a bit blurry: Jack is told she murdered a girl connected to a powerful crime boss, but Nicolette doesn’t act like a murderer, and the police aren’t on her tail. The story unfolds with alternating chapters switching between Jack’s and Nicolette’s present-tense accounts, but the different perspectives offer little to the narrative. There are no tense cat-and-mouse sequences here; Jack just finds his mark with little trouble. When the pair cross paths there’s a sexual attraction that promises to give emotional texture to the mob drama, but each character is so guarded that little genuine heat arises. Jack and Nicolette are manic in their moods, going from loving to hating and back to loving each other, sometimes within the span of one or two pages. Neither character is particularly engaging: Jack is a stereotypical bad boy with a heart of gold, and the mysterious nature of Nicolette’s past crime keeps her at arm’s length.

It’s hard to get invested in a love story when one of the partners is an unknowable black hole . (Thriller. 14-16)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4393-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy.

THE TEMPLE OF DOUBT

From the Temple of Doubt series , Vol. 1

A fantasy series opener pits adolescent angst against an all-powerful religion.

Living in Port Sapphire, on the island of New Meridian in the world of Kuldor, almost-16-year-old Hadara chafes under the tenets of a religion headed by the god Nihil that teaches that magic is superior to anything in nature. Since Hadara and her mother continue the passed-down-in-the-female-line family business of concocting healing potions from plants, the two are regarded with suspicion even as their services are sought out by townspeople. When an object falls from the sky into the marsh, Azwans (mages of Nihil) and their oversized Feroxi guards arrive to investigate, complicating things for Hadara and her family, not least because Hadara begins to have feelings for one of the guards. Although Hadara is a delightfully pert narrator, the story’s foremost tension—her subversive doubt of Nihil’s tenets—fails to reach its full potential because the religious concepts are not convincingly clear enough to weave themselves inextricably into the story. Levy shines brightest in her potent descriptions of settings and her imaginative scenes. Continuity, however, is a recurring problem. Among other lapses, the first two chapters seem to be two separate beginnings.

It’s imaginative enough, but it lacks the convincing philosophical worldbuilding essential to successful fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63220-427-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more