Manipulative and unpleasant.

RED DIRT

Eighteen-year-old Sammy was born in Bittersweet, Oklahoma, and suspects she will die there. But while the red dirt of her home keeps her grounded, she wonders if there is more beyond the county line.

Sammy Lester’s life plan involves partying, hooking up, and spending time with Decca, her young half sister, but when her father mysteriously disappears, everything changes. Suspecting that the unpredictable Tuller family is to blame, the white teen seeks the help of local law enforcement. But the sheriff, fearing retribution, refuses to help. Sammy’s former stepmother takes advantage of the situation and presses to take Decca out of state. With nowhere to turn, Sammy decides to find her own justice. Only the appearance of the incredibly sexy, rich, white Brayton Foster offers any respite from her trouble. Nonstop action and an intriguing mystery will keep pages turning, but the portrayal of rural Oklahomans as drunk, violent, amoral, and foulmouthed is at best reductive and at worst simply offensive. Sammy is strong and loyal, but her reckless behavior, including unprotected sex, heavy drinking, and proclivity for random acts of self-destructiveness, makes her a less-than-ideal heroine. The onslaught of brutal violence, animal mutilation, and attempted rape shifts this narrative from story to shock fiction.

Manipulative and unpleasant. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-373-21251-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

more