An eminently satisfying series opener for mystery fans who want their downtrodden detectives to be appealing, clever, and...

PROPERTY OF THE STATE

From the Legend of Joey series , Vol. 1

Foster teen Joey narrates events as he slowly uncovers a convoluted mystery, with a soupçon of romance added for spice.

Taciturn Joey, a long-term foster kid, has learned not to actually voice the thoughts in his head and is aiming for early graduation and emancipation as soon as possible. But just because he doesn’t talk much doesn’t mean he’s stupid. His clever internal commentary adds humor to this biting account of the alternative high school he attends, his classmates, and their families. Joey attempts to tread as lightly as he can, going to class and to his daily cleaning job at the home of a wealthy chess prodigy. He also cultivates a relationship with Trisha, a classmate and fellow foster kid who seems to have won the foster-parent sweepstakes. When Joey’s foster father watches porn on his school-issued laptop, it’s caught by sentry software, and Joey immediately is in a kind of trouble that seems to just build. Beaten up, homeless, and completely smitten by Trisha, Joey finds his curiosity and his attempts to solve his immediate problems uncovering hidden truths that lead to the solving of interconnected mysteries amid an eruption of violence. Joey’s voice is raw and engaging, both foulmouthed and inclined to wordplay, and his supporting cast, though not notably diverse, is equally well-drawn.

An eminently satisfying series opener for mystery fans who want their downtrodden detectives to be appealing, clever, and unafraid of action. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-92934-522-9

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Poisoned Pencil

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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