A thoroughly enjoyable, emotionally rich, action-packed story with the most exciting new superheroes in decades. Unmissable.

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DREADNOUGHT

From the Nemesis series , Vol. 1

Danny's having a moment to herself when superfamous superhero Dreadnought drops out of the sky and dies in her arms—but not before passing her his powers.

The powers transform her body, so her girlhood—once a total secret—is now visually impossible to hide. Guilt and elation jostle for prime position in her head as she deals with getting her dream body and massive power she can't yet control. She's taken to meet Dreadnought's colleagues (some welcoming, some not) in the Legion Pacifica and gets some answers to burning questions. But when the supervillain that killed her predecessor shows her intentions to bring destruction on humanity, Danny has to make decisions she thought she'd have more time to work out. Daniels has captured the alternating bursts of confidence and vulnerability often present in 15-year-olds with mentally abusive fathers and unsupportive mothers; she threads it through a superhero story with a beautifully paced plot that has no problematic snags to interrupt the flow. There are men both disappointing and noble, but the women and girls—white trans girl Danny, Latina crime fighter Calamity, technician/scientist Doc Impossible (racially cued only with a long black braid), and cyborg supervillain Utopia—drive the story and the action. Mutual respect among the characters, crucially combined with Daniels' respect for them, ensures that none serve as mere props for our protagonist, and readers will hope they each get their own book in the coming series.

A thoroughly enjoyable, emotionally rich, action-packed story with the most exciting new superheroes in decades. Unmissable. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68230-068-8

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Diversion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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