A breezy, bloody, well-rounded send-off.

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REVENGE

From the Amber Fang series , Vol. 3

Ethical vampire librarian Amber Fang is back for a last hurrah.

Three months after her last outing, Amber Fang has a good lead for finding her missing mother, kept hostage by ZARC Industries. With the help of her boss (and romantic interest), Dermot, the dwindling forces of the League, and the ninja librarians known as the Returns, Amber has every reason to hope this time she will succeed. But a botched mission leaves Amber alone, hurt, and on the run from ZARC and its increasingly dangerous AI Hector as well as from the nonethical vampires who wish to use Amber’s fertile womb to save their species. Will Amber manage to survive—and save her mother and herself from their enemies? Amber has come a long way in this third book: She plans better, is more confident, fights more effectively, and reacts more cautiously to the dangers coming her way. With an abundance of literary allusions, librarian in-jokes, and plenty of high-stakes action, the series comes to a fitting, satisfying conclusion. With so many factions interested in Amber’s and her mother’s ovaries, though, there is a missed opportunity for a more in-depth conversation about women’s agency, especially after an unsettling connection is made between good morals and fertility in female vampires. The majority of characters are assumed white with a couple of minor Chinese American characters in the mix.

A breezy, bloody, well-rounded send-off. (Paranormal thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2275-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling.

LEGENDBORN

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Black whiz kid Bree Matthews battles grief and demonic forces on her college campus.

After her mother dies in an accident, Bree begins a residential program for enterprising teens at her mother’s alma mater and, soon after her arrival, witnesses a magical attack that triggers hidden memories about the evening her mother was killed. Haunted by the fact that their final conversation was an argument, Bree begins a redemptive quest to uncover the connection between her mother’s death and the university’s secret society, the Order of the Round Table, joining their ranks as an initiate and unwittingly stumbling into a centuries-old supernatural war. While competing in the tournament that determines entry to the society, Bree discovers the truth about her heretofore unknown magical abilities, unwinding a complex history that showcases the horrors chattel slavery in the American South perpetuates on the descendants of all involved. Push through clunky expositions and choppy transitions that interrupt the cohesion of the text to discover solid character development that brings forward contemporary, thoughtful engagement with the representation, or lack thereof, of race in canonical Arthurian lore and mythologies. Representation of actualized, strong queer characters is organic, not forced, and so are textual conversations around emotional wellness and intergenerational trauma. Well-crafted allusions to established legends and other literary works are delightful easter eggs.

Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling. (author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4160-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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