THE XENOCIDE MISSION

Jeapes rockets into the YA hardcover sci-fi market with an attack by aliens on an observation base located far in space and staffed by humans and an extraterrestrial species, the First Breed. Twenty-one days later, the large cast of characters has negotiated a complex first-contact experience. In the 2140s, humans inherited interstellar travel technology and leadership of the First Breed (more commonly called “Rusties”) from an advanced, alien civilization. Humans and Rusties continued their predecessors’ policy of hidden observation of the “Xenocides,” who were seen methodically exterminating the population of a nearby planet. This series of rapid changes in the knowledge and ascendancy of humans caused political changes in Earth’s governmental configurations and power structures. However, humans haven’t changed—especially in their drive for power and their delight in subterfuge, manipulation, and double-dealing. News of the attack on the observation station precipitates a crisis among the Earth’s various coalitions and alliances. They all insist on sending observers on the military mission, creating a recipe for disaster. Jeapes maintains suspense at a high level by his skillful use of narrative techniques; the byzantine plot is filled with cultural misunderstandings and double-crosses right up to the end. Told from the point of view of many characters and moving among the personalities, species, and power groups, it allows details—historical, personal, and cultural—to emerge as the plot unfolds. The structure is unusually complex, moving back and forth in time as the point of view changes from character to character. As with many plot-driven works, characterization is occasionally wooden, but it certainly doesn’t interrupt the flow of the narrative. Incorporating the best qualities of YA SF, this is a space opera that employs sociological examination and world building of a very high order—who could ask for anything more? A rip-roaring read. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 14, 2002

ISBN: 0-385-75007-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

THE WAY I USED TO BE

In the three years following Eden’s brutal rape by her brother’s best friend, Kevin, she descends into anger, isolation, and promiscuity.

Eden’s silence about the assault is cemented by both Kevin’s confident assurance that if she tells anyone, “No one will ever believe you. You know that. No one. Not ever,” and a chillingly believable death threat. For the remainder of Eden’s freshman year, she withdraws from her family and becomes increasingly full of hatred for Kevin and the world she feels failed to protect her. But when a friend mentions that she’s “reinventing” herself, Eden embarks on a hopeful plan to do the same. She begins her sophomore year with new clothes and friendly smiles for her fellow students, which attract the romantic attentions of a kind senior athlete. But, bizarrely, Kevin’s younger sister goes on a smear campaign to label Eden a “totally slutty disgusting whore,” which sends Eden back toward self-destruction. Eden narrates in a tightly focused present tense how she withdraws again from nearly everyone and attempts to find comfort (or at least oblivion) through a series of nearly anonymous sexual encounters. This self-centeredness makes her relationships with other characters feel underdeveloped and even puzzling at times. Absent ethnic and cultural markers, Eden and her family and classmates are likely default white.

Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4935-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more