Fans of the first may appreciate the happy ending, but most will wonder why the lily needed gilding.

READ REVIEW

SUCK IT UP AND DIE

The sequel to 2008’s Suck It Up fails to match its predecessor’s charm.

Now that vampires have come forward and learned to walk in the sun, it’s time to campaign for equal rights. But Morning McCobb, geeky vampire spokesperson, just wants to hang with his EB (eternal beloved) Portia and work on his Lifer (human) dream of firefighting. Sadly, there’s no rest for the immortal; villain Ikor DeThanatos is back, teamed up with a Palin-esque politician who hates vampires. Chock full of bad puns, a tensionless love story and underlying messages that come across more pointed than a hawthorn stake, this won’t garner new fans (and there’s almost no recap to orient newcomers, anyway). Messy mythology (the oldest vampires can sustain themselves by transforming part of their body into a creature they can then drink from) and unexpected shifts in character don’t help (tough-girl vamp Rachel Capilarus becomes a daffy hippie). Meehl’s wordplay (there’s a glossary for the acronyms, initialisms and made-up words) and humor are out in full force, and there are moments of genuine sweetness packed into the campy, inconsistent story.

Fans of the first may appreciate the happy ending, but most will wonder why the lily needed gilding. (Comic horror. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73911-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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