Morgyn’s supernaturally tinged debut is a heartbreaking but hopeful exploration of death and grief.

RESURRECTION GIRLS

Three years ago, Olivia Foster’s 3-year-old brother, Robby, drowned in the backyard pool while she flirted with her crush, Prescott Peters.

Since then, the pool has been filled in, her mother rarely emerges from her room, her dad’s work hours have mysteriously gotten longer, and 16-year-old narrator Olivia occasionally raids her mother’s prescription pill stash to dull her own pain and guilt as she assumes a lion’s share of the responsibility at home. The scorching Houston summer takes a transformative turn when Kara Hallas moves into the long-vacant house across the street with her cigar-chomping maternal grandmother, Sybil, and flame-haired mother, Rhea. The wild and vibrant Kara is a magnet for everyone, including Prescott, whom Olivia has barely seen since Robby’s death. Friendship, and maybe something more, blooms, and Kara convinces Olivia to help her write letters to death row inmates as the Resurrection Girls, claiming that they’re giving them hope in their last days. A dark and unearthly something simmers in Kara that awakens a fire in Olivia and may be the key to finding a way out of the “endless parade of days” they’ve marched through like “automatons” since Robby’s death. The lovely, assured prose draws on ancient archetypes and a lingering sense of dread to pave the way for a strange but satisfying conclusion. All characters are assumed white (the Hallas family are Greek American).

Morgyn’s supernaturally tinged debut is a heartbreaking but hopeful exploration of death and grief. (Magical realism. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6942-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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