A victim of middle-book syndrome buoyed by a keen sense of the intricacies of relationships.



From the Last Star Burning series , Vol. 2

Guided by her mother’s last words, Sev embarks on a quest to find the cure to sleeping sickness, or SS.

After watching her mother die and escaping the burning City in Last Star Burning (2017), Sev and her friends Tai-ge and June hide out in their heli. The goal is to find Port North, which Sev’s mother told her holds the cure to SS, but there’s a problem: No one has heard of it. Radio transmissions train their focus on Dazhai, a farm holding the last of the Firsts and likely a map to Port North. As plans are made, Tai-ge’s old allegiances rear their heads—he thinks stealing a map isn’t necessary when they could work with the Reds, something Sev will never do. And then the last person Sev expects to see appears: Howl, whom she believed to be dead. Sev is horrified. She loved Howl, but his lies soured her on him forever. Now they must work together as time to find a cure runs out. Sev’s struggle to determine whom she can trust takes center stage over intrigue. Though the relationships are carefully wrought, the hard shift away from the action of the first book is jarring. The secrets of Port North finally slingshot the pace back to a familiar clip.

A victim of middle-book syndrome buoyed by a keen sense of the intricacies of relationships. (pronunciation guide, author’s note) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8616-3

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.


From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.


From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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