Works as a series introduction or continuation for fans.

READ REVIEW

ALMOST MIDNIGHT

From the Shadow Falls series

This compilation of novellas set in the Shadow Falls universe fills in some gaps in the original series.

Focusing on most of the main characters from the series, this patchwork of stories flashes back to past events in their lives and loves. The first two novellas offer Della the angry vampire’s origin story and describe her first adventure with the Fallen Research Unit. The action then shifts to a brief but engaging episode that explains how Chase became a vampire. Next, witch Miranda enters a contest that gets out of hand. She and her friends find themselves in serious danger somewhere in Paris, and she must cope with some new information about her family. Finally, the werewolf Fredericka falls for her almost-human new boss while her jealous history teacher tries to intimidate her into staying with him. She learns more about her own family and tries to solve the mystery of a ghost she cannot avoid. All four of the protagonists of these stand-alone episodes experience new love even when still attracted to their previous heartthrobs. Characters strive with little success to escape their one-dimensional, standard portrayals, but fans of the series already know them and will appreciate the new background information given for all four.

Works as a series introduction or continuation for fans. (Paranormal romance/suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-08100-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A slow, hazy beginning eventually sharpens before charging into an electric, enchanting end.

A SONG BELOW WATER

Two young women literally and figuratively embody #BlackGirlMagic.

Sixteen and with deep brown skin, Tavia is a siren who uses American Sign Language to push against the mesmerizing call that burns like a fire in her throat and could mean being silenced forever if it is released. Plagued with mysterious body ailments and no knowledge of her biological heritage to inform a diagnosis, light-brown–skinned 16-year-old Effie, Tavia’s sister-by-choice, is haunted by survivor’s guilt after a traumatic childhood incident. Portland, Oregon, provides a memorable setting for Morrow’s solid and intentional unpacking of myths around black people and their aversion to water activities through their stories. Chapters alternating first-person narration between the two protagonists set up Tavia to often be the voice of social justice inquiry, especially regarding prejudice against sirens, who are always black women. Effie’s storyline focuses on a different type of identity exploration as she untangles her complicated family history. Lengthy exposition with confusing plot turns and a reveal of ethnically diverse magical beings and their powers slows the first part of the book. The action picks up toward the middle, rising to create an exciting new contemporary fantasy. In this parallel world, black female empowerment is standing up for yourself and others while simultaneously navigating love, physical and emotional violence, and the responsibility of immense supernatural power.

A slow, hazy beginning eventually sharpens before charging into an electric, enchanting end. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31532-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more