A thrilling and thought-provoking ride.

THIS IS NOT THE JESS SHOW

From the This Is Not the Jess Show series , Vol. 1

A teenager uncovers a secret that alters her entire reality.

It’s March 1998. Jess Flynn is thinking of college and longing to leave the confines of her small town. Her mother is overprotective; her sister, Sara, is receiving palliative care for an incurable disease; and Jess is falling for her best friend, Tyler, whom she’s been close to for 6 years. Every year the month of March brings Jess anxiety that something major is going to happen: Three years earlier, Sara received her diagnosis; the next year there was a tornado; and one year ago, Jess’ family’s home was burglarized. Now Jess is hyperaware of her surroundings, and she notices many things too strange to be ignored: far-off voices chanting outside, a mysterious flu spreading around town, and her closest friends keeping secrets. The strangest of all? Jess discovers that her dog has been replaced with a look-alike and her parents have no explanation. Jess decides to investigate, but she must tread cautiously because someone is watching her every move. Pop-culture references from the ’90s are paramount to the story’s façade, and the final plot twist packs a punch. This is a fun stand-alone, but the ending leaves room for readers to explore more of Jess’ world in the next series entry. The main cast is assumed White except for Jess’ friend Amber, who is cued as Black.

A thrilling and thought-provoking ride. (Speculative fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68369-197-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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