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

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A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary,...

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THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE

The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys’ home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption—together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. 

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-16031-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes.

HERE'S TO US

Former boyfriends’ “big Broadway love story” gets a revival in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018).

Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn’t have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his “ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job” interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren’t boyfriends, the connection—and attraction—is definitely there. Arthur’s officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a “Ben-addled mess.” Cue the confusion—and inevitable broken hearts—as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli’s and Silvera’s voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys’ situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben’s and Arthur’s perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White.

Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307163-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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