THE LOST BOOK OF THE WHITE

From the Eldest Curses series , Vol. 2

Plenty of fan service within a rich setting.

“Malec” and friends go to Shanghai in this spinoff series sequel.

A peaceful night (infant son asleep, sailor pajamas on, book in lap) turns rowdy when intruders break into Magnus Bane’s Brooklyn apartment. Shinyun Jung appears with Ragnor Fell, Magnus’ old friend whom he thought to be dead. The two warlocks are working on a project together—something involving Sammael (the Father of Demons) and the Book of the White (which they’ve just stolen from baby Max’s room). Before departing nearly scratch-free, Shinyun “gifts” Magnus by stabbing him with a weapon called the Svefnthorn and leaving a glowing hole in his chest. Magnus and Alec Lightwood rally the rest of the Shadowhunter crew to retrieve the book and prevent this scheme from reaching completion. But between misbehaving portals, a mysterious magical injury, and excessive demons, can they save the world again? And who will watch the baby? Though just as sexy as ever, the relationship between Alec and Magnus dips into sentimentality as they balance newfound parenthood with their thirst for adventure—and each other. Despite high stakes, heroes and villains alike adopt a witty, almost jovial disposition that makes the plot read like a romantic, but dangerous, vacation. The incorporation of Chinese Shadowhunters, gods, demons, and realms deepens the series’ mythology. Multiple forbidden relationships between Shadowhunters and Downworlders symbolically echo the fight for marriage equality.

Plenty of fan service within a rich setting. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9512-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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