The story is suspenseful, with excellent pacing, self-aware humor, and a twist that Hartinger pulls off as well as the best...

THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE

Anyone who’s ever watched a horror movie knows: don’t go into the woods.

Rob adores his boyfriend, Liam, but is having trouble getting along with Liam’s best friend, party-girl Mia, and her handsome, troubled boyfriend, Galen. Rob makes some unwise decisions to get along, but the most dangerous is going with them to a remote cabin on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Hartinger gleefully piles up the horror-movie clichés. Along the way, they encounter a menacing old woman carrying a crossbow, and she’s far from happy to see Mia. After the drive along muddy back roads, Mia realizes the woman is angry that her family has sold land to clear-cutters, ruining property values. The teens make the best of it with skinny-dipping, drinking, and a game of “Three Truths and a Lie.” Mia reveals a disturbing secret, which she says is a lie, but Rob is unsettled. Then the outhouse is knocked over and their gas tank punctured, all after their satellite phone has disappeared. It’s not long before the paranoia spirals until they all suspect one another, and not everyone makes it out alive. Though the cast is not particularly diverse racially (Galen’s “golden-brown” skin notwithstanding, there’s no solid indication that these teens are anything but white), placing a couple of gay boys at the center of a psychological thriller is a refreshing spin on a very old trope.

The story is suspenseful, with excellent pacing, self-aware humor, and a twist that Hartinger pulls off as well as the best slasher films. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4960-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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