Daniels doesn’t just perfectly “queer the capes,” she delivers a book that’s tightly packed with brilliantly rendered...

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SOVEREIGN

From the Nemesis series , Vol. 2

It’s been nine months since the last Dreadnought was blown apart and he transferred the mantle—and the responsibilities—to teenager Danny Tozer, and she’s already world-weary.

On a never-ending cycle of thwarting supervillains, dealing with local police, going over interviews with her lawyer/publicist, Danny keeps to herself how the one thing that she loves the most about the job is the fight. She sinks into the violence, feeling a bite of disappointment when she wins too quickly. The first book’s arc showed the white protagonist’s growth from a terrified trans teen to a powerful, revered superhero who physically resembles her truest self. This sequel drops readers at a waypoint where Danny’s physically comfortable and finding her place among her fellow “capes,” but her physical strength allows long-standing emotional damage to come thundering to the surface. Healing from a lifetime of emotional abuse, Danny has anger issues and tunnel vision that cause her to unknowingly hurt others or not to notice her own insensitivity. This complex is brilliantly threaded through an intense conflict against a billionaire supervillain and one of the more sinister of her old foes, not to mention some challenging subplots. Daniels’ world expands to include even more exciting capes, including a successor to an old friend and a brilliant, nonbinary cape called Kinetiq.

Daniels doesn’t just perfectly “queer the capes,” she delivers a book that’s tightly packed with brilliantly rendered fights, nail-biting scenes of peril, emotional authenticity, and a perfect first kiss. (Science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68230-824-0

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Diversion Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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