Racing action and tender romance shine in a story of hard love and harder competition.

BREATH LIKE WATER

When swimming is everything, what’s left when your life doesn’t go according to plan?

A world champion swimmer at 14, Susannah Ramos’ changing body has betrayed her; she struggles to maintain her edge in the pool just two years later. Now, a manipulative coach and crippling self-doubt feel like insurmountable hurdles as Susannah fights to regain both her self-confidence and a spot in the upcoming Olympic Trials. A handsome newcomer to the team turns into more than just a friend, and Susannah must rethink her priorities as she works to regain her elite athlete status. Blossoming romance is soon challenged by pressures from the swim team and difficult secrets coming to light. Jarzab expertly captures the intense pressures of high-stakes athletic competition and the complicated reality of loving someone with mental health struggles. Susannah’s family’s Mexican American heritage is significant to the plot, and themes of identity and feeling like an outsider in a predominantly white sport are explored authentically. Susannah is third-generation Mexican American and growing up in suburban Illinois. Readers will root for Susannah in her journey to find her place, both in and out of the pool.

Racing action and tender romance shine in a story of hard love and harder competition. (Sports romance. 15-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-05023-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Ostensibly a thriller, this debut misses its mark.

MONSTERS AMONG US

A college student tries to solve the murder in the wake of her own sexual assault.

Catherine, a first semester freshman, comes home reeling from a sexual assault that took place at a college party just before winter break. Shortly after her return, someone close to her is murdered in her Washington hometown. As the police investigation into the murder gets underway, Catherine becomes determined to do her own sleuthing, desperate for answers and an outlet for her trauma. She is helped by Henry, an old friend, and Andrew, a young man who shows up at her house one day to return the coat she left behind in her assailant’s room the night of her assault. The circumstances of Andrew’s untimely arrival on the scene provoke suspicions—was he involved in Catherine’s rape or even the murder? Yet Catherine seems implausibly quick to dismiss these suspicions out of a desire to bring Andrew into the fold due to his close connection to the local police department and thus, clues. The trio’s amateur detective work leaves much to be desired as far as plotting is concerned, jumping from hunch to hunch on minimal evidence, with the bulk of their investigation focusing on abuses of power within a local church. The sexual assault narrative is largely sidelined for the sake of a plodding mystery. All major characters are White.

Ostensibly a thriller, this debut misses its mark. (Mystery. 15-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12586-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Perhaps the television incarnation will have some life.

THE 100

From the The 100 series , Vol. 1

One hundred teen convicts may be the only hope of the human race.

Three hundred years after the Cataclysm made Earth uninhabitable, the remnant of humanity lives in an aging space station. Strict population-control laws help conserve the dwindling resources, and adults convicted of crimes are summarily executed. Criminal teens held in Confinement are given a retrial at 18, and some go free. Fearing the colony has few years left, the Chancellor decides to send 100 of these teens to Earth with monitoring bracelets to see if the planet’s surface is survivable. The story concentrates on four of them. Wells commits a crime in order to accompany his girlfriend; Bellamy breaks into the dropship to go with his sister; in hopes of reuniting with her boyfriend, Glass escapes the dropship to return to her privileged mother. And Clarke, the object of Wells’ affection, struggles with demons and hormones. Will they survive? Morgan’s debut, which has already been optioned for a CW series, has a promising premise as long as readers don’t apply too many brain cells. (Why convicts? Why not give them communication devices? Isn’t there birth control in the future?) However, it slowly devolves into a thrill-free teen romance. Lengthy flashbacks flatten the action in nearly every chapter. The characters do little to distinguish themselves from their run-of-the-mill dystopian brethren. Steer teens in search of science fiction to Beth Revis, Robison Wells and Veronica Roth.

Perhaps the television incarnation will have some life. (Dystopian adventure. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-23447-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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