Despite predictability and second-book syndrome, a generally fast and enjoyable read of interpersonal drama and rescues.

TETHER

Back on Earth and discontented after the events of Tandem (2013), Sasha returns to Aurora for the boy she left behind.

Sasha can’t stand not knowing whether or not Thomas is well, and after Aurora, Earth just doesn’t feel right anymore. She receives a message that Thomas is alive, investigates her parents’ connection to the alternate worlds and returns. There, she meets a third analog, Selene, the last oracle of a dying world in a different universe. It is prophesied that Selene may save her world, but she needs her two analogs, Sasha and Princess Juliana, to do it. While the addition of Selene (and a handful of others) draws focus away from the characters of the first book, it creates an interesting dynamic for the analogs. Sasha and Selene bond quickly, but their psychic connection to Juliana is weaker because of the tension between her and Sasha. Sasha and Selene must escape the villainous General to find the missing princess and convince her to go save Selene’s world. Meanwhile Juliana, held captive by rebels, is given complexity and a romantic storyline of her own in occasional third-person sections. The exposition’s better consolidated in this outing than before, coming in short bursts, then cutting back to the action, but sometimes feels like infodumps. After a chaotic climax, the ending predictably sets up the next book.

Despite predictability and second-book syndrome, a generally fast and enjoyable read of interpersonal drama and rescues. (Science fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74279-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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