A satisfying fairy-tale nerd love story.

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BOOKISH AND THE BEAST

From the Once Upon a Con series , Vol. 3

A small-town girl transforms a spoiled star in this third installment in the Once Upon a Con series.

High school senior Rosie Thorne loves the science-fiction space opera Starfield, connecting with her recently deceased mother through the old TV show, the newly rebooted movie series, and the tie-in novels. In real life, though, Rosie is struggling with her grief, her college essay, and the unwanted attentions of Gaston-stand-in Garrett Taylor. When Rosie’s unfortunate run-in with the town’s newest resident leads to her cataloging the library of an eccentric castlelike house, she also must deal with the beastly moods of Hollywood bad boy Vance Reigns, who is staying there. Seventeen-year-old co-narrator Vance is a self-proclaimed prisoner, exiled to North Carolina by his stepfather after filming the newest Starfield movie. Spoiled, sulky, and self-loathing, publicity-shy Vance fears that he’s irredeemable. Tying in 2017’s Geekerella and 2019’s The Princess and the Fangirl but expanding outside the enchanted bubble/fever-pitch world of conventions, Poston adds a dash more reality to this romance. The world of Starfield—initially, a Star Wars/Star Trek knockoff, with a rebel princess, too-good hero, and cocky bad boy—begs for a TV adaptation. Despite the setting, both Rosie and Vance are white; their sidekicks are more diverse, in gender, if not race; nonbinary Quinn is a scene stealer while Rosie’s bisexual, former-punk rocker, librarian dad is adorkable.

A satisfying fairy-tale nerd love story. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68369-193-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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