LIGHT BENEATH FERNS

This second novel from the author of The Shape of Water (2008) is equally strong on lyrical style and original voice but falls short on plot. Elizah Rayne’s mother has taken a job as cemetery caretaker in her hometown. Elizah’s dad, a gambling addict, is on the run from creditors. At 14, Elizah, like her parents, is a loner with no interest in fitting into her new world. She ignores enemies and shuns potential friends, including the basketball star who (inexplicably) pursues her. But a mysterious boy, Nathaniel, whose touch is cold but warms her later, intrigues Elizah, and she allows him to draw her into his strange world. After Elizah’s mother joins a psychic-led group that seeks out ghosts in the cemetery, readers will figure out where the story is headed many pages before Elizah does. Yet Spollen’s writing is evocative enough to supply much of the tension and creepiness missing from the plot. While it fails as a straightforward ghost story, the novel succeeds in creating a vivid, contrarian protagonist who retains reader interest. (Paranormal. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1542-1

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2010

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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ECLIPSE

From the Twilight series , Vol. 3

It’s the countdown to graduation and immortality for Bella, since the events of New Moon (2006) have convinced boyfriend Edward to let her join him in vampirism. While Bella desires only to leave this mortal coil, Edward wants her to try college and marriage first. Bella knows that becoming a vampire will forever sever her ties to best friend Jake, who’s a werewolf and therefore an ancient racial enemy of all things vampiric. Luckily—and predictably—a gathering of bloodthirsty, vengeful vampires is headed straight for Bella. To protect her, the vegetarians of Edward’s vamp coven need to stop trading racial epithets with the werewolves and work with them, instead. Bella wants the villains to be defeated so she can return to her everyday life of high school, anticipating immortality and fighting Edward’s determination to avoid premarital sex. Unsettling racially charged characterizations are offset by messages of overcoming difference and working together. Fans of Bella’s angst-drenched love triangle will gobble this entry up, and the open-ended conclusion paves the way for Jake’s story to come. (Fantasy. YA)

None None

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-16020-9

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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