The readers who flock to this will find more than they expected, and Shalia’s strength will give them something truly worth...

REIGN THE EARTH

From the Elementae series , Vol. 1

Gaughen’s sophomore series balances a classic fantasy setup with a tale of abusive marriage and female strength in the face of extreme adversity.

For years the white-skinned Bone Landers have waged war; they ravaged the magic-wielding islanders and now fight the brown-skinned desert people. The marriage of desert-born Shalia to Calix, the Tri King, is critical for peace, and Shalia is determined to do her duty. But Calix’s handsome face hides a cruel spirit; the genocide of the Islanders was his doing, revenge for a perceived failed romance. Shalia tries to heal his anger with patience and understanding even as she manifests the elemental magic Calix has sworn to eradicate and tries to protect her brother, who leads the resistance. Calix is a textbook abuser; he blames others for his cruelty, he tries to control everything about Shalia, and he frequently tells her how much he loves her even as he hurts her. Despite her naiveté, Shalia refuses to be victimized, making this both a traditional fantasy (complete with requisite forbidden romance) and a manifesto of female strength. Heavy exposition bogs down the early chapters, but once the narrative takes off Shalia proves herself a worthwhile heroine.

The readers who flock to this will find more than they expected, and Shalia’s strength will give them something truly worth swooning over . (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-111-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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