The action never stops, keeping readers engrossed in a rapid-paced tale that doesn’t hesitate to deal with the realities of...

TASK FORCE

From the Recon Team Angel series , Vol. 2

Recon Team Angel, a group of teens trained for espionage and surgically altered to resemble the invader alien race (The Assault, 2012), are back for their next mission…going deep into alien territory.

The Great Bzadian War is well under way, and the humans are losing. It will be only a matter of months before the Bering Strait freezes over sufficiently to allow the aliens to transport their heavy equipment over from Russia to invade the last bastion of freedom, the United States. In a last-ditch effort to delay the attack they know is coming, the Allied Combined Operations Group has deployed the titular task force deep into Bzadian territory (formerly Australia) to take out the factory that produces the power cells that keep the alien forces moving, hopefully buying time for the humans to launch their own attack and build up defenses. Lt. Ryan “Lucky” Chisnall must once again take his team deep into enemy territory, risking his and their lives to save the human race from extinction. Short sentences, clipped dialogue and a bounty of initialisms and technical language make this a winner for kids who love military-style adventures. The clear battle lines drawn between humans and Bzadians facilitate easy, total immersion.

The action never stops, keeping readers engrossed in a rapid-paced tale that doesn’t hesitate to deal with the realities of a war of survival. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-449-81299-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener.

DEFY THE NIGHT

The only effective treatment for the lethal fever that plagues Kandala is a potion derived from the rare Moonflower.

Medicine is allocated to each sector of the kingdom by the decree of King Harristan, but the supply is limited. Thieves, smugglers, and black marketeers are subject to punishment and execution overseen by the cruel Prince Corrick in his role as the King’s Justice. Like many in Kandala, Tessa Cade loathes the king and his younger brother for ignoring the plight of those who cannot afford treatment. With the help of her close friend Weston, the 18-year-old apothecary’s assistant steals Moonflower petals from the wealthy and makes potions to distribute among the poor. Soon after Wes is caught by the night patrol, Tessa is presented with an opportunity to sneak into the palace. She enters with the intention of taking a sample of the palace’s potent Moonflower elixir only to be captured and brought before Prince Corrick, who, Tessa discovers, might not be as heartless as she originally believed. The slow-burn romance—between an idealist with straightforward moral beliefs and a pragmatist trapped by duty—will keep the pages turning, as will the scheming of the king’s consuls and the rebellion brewing in the background. Tessa and Corrick are cued White; other characters’ skin colors range from beige to deep brown.

The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0466-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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