A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.

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TRANSGRESSION

A teenage girl learns that she’s part angel in this debut YA fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Achaia Cohen thinks that she and her father, Shael, move around so much because he’s a writer who’s always on assignment. It’s actually because he’s one of the Nephilim—the guardian angels of God. Years ago, his charge had been U.S. Sen. Anna Connolly, as per God’s plan, but they fell in love and had a child. After a demon killed Anna, Shael traded his angelic soul to Lucifer for the chance to raise Achaia, the only human/Nephilim hybrid in existence. Now, in New York, Shael continues the difficult task of protecting his daughter, who’s unaware of her lineage, from evil forces. As demons stalk the pair, Shael enlists his angelic colleague, Naphtali, for added defense. More aid comes in the form of several Nephilim disguised as high school kids: Noland, Olivier, Yellaina, Emile, and Amelia. They help Achaia settle into school and city life while keeping their angelic superpowers (and wings) hidden. Still, Achaia feels like a hostage, as her father is always afraid for her safety. Then Shael vanishes, and Achaia must confront the truth about her background. For this series opener, Ange sculpts a heroic teen saga in the mold of X-Men comics, substituting a speedster (Olivier), a firestarter (Noland), and a language expert (Yellaina) for the latter’s mutant heroes. At one point, she appealingly nods to the supreme deity’s cultural malleability: “Today, God appeared as a tall man wearing white robes, his skin changing colors in ever-shifting hues of black, white, olive, and maple.” The imagery is often graceful, as well: “Shael sat silently, letting [Lucifer’s] words meet him like the tide on the beach.” The concept of free will weaves its way into the action-oriented plot, which also includes romance elements; Achaia’s half-human nature allows her to make decisions that her full-Nephilim cohort can’t, and following one’s heart is shown to be more important than strict adherence to heavenly mandate. Ange leaves all the pieces in place for a grander sequel.

A dark and inviting supernatural thriller.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947992-00-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Marturia Publications

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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