A quick, thrilling read that doesn’t skimp on characterization.

READ REVIEW

THE BODY IN THE WOODS

From the Point Last Seen series , Vol. 1

In a fast-moving and well-constructed mystery, three teen volunteer members of a search-and-rescue team track a serial killer targeting homeless teen girls in Portland, Oregon.

An experienced SAR member is supposed to accompany every search party, but an error lands new volunteers Ruby, Nick and Alexis alone together on their first call. Other team members quickly locate the man who is the target of their search, but the three teens find something else: the body of a recently dead girl. Each teen comes from a unique and compellingly drawn background, expressed with impressive effectiveness given how quickly the plot moves. Nick, whose father died in the Iraq War, has joined SAR in hopes of both living up to his father’s legacy and impressing girls. Timid but capable Alexis pushes others away to stop them from discovering that she spends most of her time and energy managing her mother’s mental illness. Ruby in particular stands out. Her socially unacceptable but genuinely felt exuberance at participating in a murder investigation is frowned upon by parents and police but lovingly conveyed through enthusiastic dialogue and narrative asides. Short, obsessive chapters from the unidentified killer’s point of view add to the suspense, and enough clues are dropped as to the killer’s identity that astute readers will be able to solve the puzzle before the final, high-stakes climax.

A quick, thrilling read that doesn’t skimp on characterization. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9852-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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