An entertaining tale that breaks no new ground.

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IN ANOTHER LIFE

Chloe’s life is falling apart.

Her dad has a girlfriend, her mom is suffering from depression and the aftermath of cancer, and she’s had to move with her mom to the town of Joyful, Texas, where she has only one friend, Lindsey, whose mother is lesbian. When she meets Cash, things seem to be looking up. But Cash comes with a host of complications, not the least of which is the fact he’s convinced that Chloe is the same girl his foster parents had kidnapped from them as an almost-3-year-old. But how could that be? Chloe’s parents love her and have never hidden the fact she was adopted. As the two of them dive deeper into the mysteries of the past and the dangers of the present, they also dive deeper in love. But can their fledgling romance survive the onslaught of brutal reality? Hunter (This Heart of Mine, 2018, etc.) deftly delivers a complicated back-and-forth point of view between Chloe and Cash, building suspense along with a steamy sense of attraction between the two teens. Occasionally the plot and dialogue feel canned and forced, sprinkled with clichés and tired exclamations such as, “I swallow the lump in my throat and jerk back, removing my B cup boobs from some guy’s chest.” The book assumes a white default.

An entertaining tale that breaks no new ground. (Romance. 15-17)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31227-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Eerie, painful and beautifully spine-chilling

THE WALLS AROUND US

The intertwined stories of two teenage girls: a convicted killer and a Juilliard-bound ballerina.

Amber's an inmate at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center, with a story to tell about the night the doors all opened at the prison. Violet's a dancer bound for New York City and artistic success. The girls have secrets, and each takes the chance to let tidbits of truth slip into her narrative, each using her own unique and identifiable voice in alternating chapters. Amber rarely speaks only for herself, identifying almost exclusively with the other prisoners. "Some of us knew for sure," she solemnly explains, speaking collectively. "Some of us kept track of days." Violet, on the other hand, is deeply self-absorbed, worried over the three-years-past death of her incarcerated best friend but only for how it affects her and her chance at Juilliard. As the girls' stories unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Amber's and Violet's musings occur three years apart—yet are nonetheless intimately connected. The wholly realistic view of adolescents meeting the criminal justice system (with a heartbreaking contrast portrayed between the treatment of a wealthy girl and that of her poor multiracial friend) is touched at first with the slimmest twist of an otherworldly creepiness, escalating finally to the truly hair-raising and macabre.

Eerie, painful and beautifully spine-chilling . (Supernatural suspense. 15-17)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61620-372-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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Busy, but at least there’s a death ray

THE OSIRIS CURSE

From the Tweed & Nightingale series , Vol. 2

A pair of teen detectives bops between London and Cairo in a steampunk adventure that would probably make a better movie than it does a book.

Octavia Nightingale and Sebastian Tweed return in this sequel to The Lazarus Machine (2012), solving mysteries in a Victorian London jam-packed with automatons powered by human souls and carriages running on Tesla turbines. Their search for Octavia’s kidnapped mother entangles them in a larger mystery, with missing scientists and Egyptophile cultists around every corner. Each solved puzzle reveals a further complication: traitors, lizard people, rocket launchers—even a secret world. Perhaps the number of threads is too many to keep under control; some characters are dropped abruptly, while one major arc comes to a character-building ending without ever developing through a beginning or middle. The overall mystery is impenetrable, but the set dressing of “vacuum tubes and wiring...tools and gears, clocks, glass beakers filled with strange liquids, and disassembled automatons” makes the right backdrop for a novel that climaxes with an airship-vs.-ornithopter dogfight over London. Purists take note: Among the myriad errors and inconsistencies are copious anachronisms detracting from the Victorian feel.

Busy, but at least there’s a death ray . (Steampunk. 15-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61614-857-7

Page Count: 295

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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