Faults aside, this supernatural mystery will appeal to fans of the genre, and the story’s conclusion leaves wide the door...



If you knew something bad was going to happen, would you try to change the future?

Charlotte Westing is an Oracle, and as such, she must follow three rules: never to reveal herself as an Oracle to non-Oracles; never to give in to the visions; and if a vision gets through, never to try to change the future. At age 6, Charlotte broke the third rule, costing her father his life. Ten years later, a stronger-than-normal vision breaks through 16-year-old Charlotte’s carefully constructed psychic defenses, foretelling the murder of a classmate. Charlotte wants to act, but she is too late. After a second ominous vision, she warns the potential victim, but it’s no help. As visions of the dead increase, and the bodies start piling up, Charlotte must decide whether to break all the rules in order to stop a serial killer and save lives. Oddly, the Sisters of Delphi seem disinclined to intervene in Charlotte’s rule breaking, but perhaps official consequence is being saved for sequels. The story is sometimes predictable and goes a bit too fast in places—readers will quickly lose track of visions and victims—but it’s full of gripping tension, and Charlotte is a self-aware and likable narrator, determined to use her powers for good.

Faults aside, this supernatural mystery will appeal to fans of the genre, and the story’s conclusion leaves wide the door for possible future installments. (Supernatural thriller. 15-17)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-199903-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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An overbusy mishmash


A Nutcracker retelling includes a Victorian mob princess/warrior heroine, an alternate New York City, steampunk faeries and an epic multigenerational battle.

Seventeen-year-old Clara is the daughter of New York’s mayor—which is to say her father is the poor dupe that organized crime has mounted as figurehead leader. Heartless Patricia Plum and depraved Dr. Victor are the real leaders, with the city at their mercy. When Dr. Victor isn’t committing vile tortures on the bodies of imprisoned waifs, he’s sexually harassing Clara, who’s afraid to fight back. She could fight back, however, because Clara’s Godfather has spent his life training her to become the kind of fighter one only sees in computer games, with a tear-away gown hiding her many knives. These skills will serve her well when she’s thrust into the fairyland Cane, accompanied by sexy prince Nicholas, who until recently was a statue: a sinister, repulsively marked statue she’d always found fascinating and more recently erotic. In Cane, the humans (who once tortured faeries for fun) have been defeated by the equally sadistic and sexually threatening faeries, who force all humans to become drug addicts. Perhaps Clara can help, or maybe she’ll succumb to the homoerotic advances of the evil queen.

An overbusy mishmash . (Fantasy. 15-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6598-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Eerie, painful and beautifully spine-chilling


The intertwined stories of two teenage girls: a convicted killer and a Juilliard-bound ballerina.

Amber's an inmate at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center, with a story to tell about the night the doors all opened at the prison. Violet's a dancer bound for New York City and artistic success. The girls have secrets, and each takes the chance to let tidbits of truth slip into her narrative, each using her own unique and identifiable voice in alternating chapters. Amber rarely speaks only for herself, identifying almost exclusively with the other prisoners. "Some of us knew for sure," she solemnly explains, speaking collectively. "Some of us kept track of days." Violet, on the other hand, is deeply self-absorbed, worried over the three-years-past death of her incarcerated best friend but only for how it affects her and her chance at Juilliard. As the girls' stories unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Amber's and Violet's musings occur three years apart—yet are nonetheless intimately connected. The wholly realistic view of adolescents meeting the criminal justice system (with a heartbreaking contrast portrayed between the treatment of a wealthy girl and that of her poor multiracial friend) is touched at first with the slimmest twist of an otherworldly creepiness, escalating finally to the truly hair-raising and macabre.

Eerie, painful and beautifully spine-chilling . (Supernatural suspense. 15-17)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61620-372-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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