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ODD & TRUE

Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’...

A tale of two sisters unfolds in Winters’ (The Steep and Thorny Way, 2016, etc.) latest historical offering of monsters, magic, and family.

Storytelling and the blur between truth and fiction are at the heart of this metafictive narrative as sisters Trudchen “Tru” and Odette “Od” Grey each tell parts of their personal and family histories. In 1909, 15-year-old Tru, rendered pragmatic by life on an Oregon farm with a polio-related and painful disability, no longer believes her sister’s many fantastical tales of their mother’s adventures as a monster hunter. She is adamant that their family (and herself especially) is nothing but ordinary, but no sooner has Tru set aside fanciful hearth magic and fears of the supernatural than Od suddenly appears to whisk her away across the country to hunt down monsters. Od’s part of the story, on the other hand, begins 15 years earlier as she recounts a fraught family legacy of loss, pain, and perseverance and of the “real-life monsters” that stalk the stories of her mother’s and her own lives. As the sisters cautiously confront the legendary Leeds Devil, a demonic beast attacking New Jersey and nearby states in 1909, storytelling becomes both a weapon and a lens through which they come to see and better understand their family and themselves.

Winters has woven an intricate and innovative pattern of structure, genre, and history that cannot fail to capture readers’ imaginations. (Historical fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2310-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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THE CHANGING MAN

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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OTHERWORLDLY

An irresistible elixir of romance and suspense.

In this Western mythology–inspired romance, a teen with a disdain for magic and an immortal familiar join forces to uncover the truth behind the relentless winter that devastates the region.

Before endless winter destroyed their family’s farm, 17-year-old Ellery Evans never questioned their parents’ devotion to the supernatural, but after five years of unanswered prayers, Ellery lets go of their faith and moves in with Charley, their cousin who lives in the city, seeking a steady paycheck as a real solution to their family’s problems. One night after work at the diner, they bump into Knox, the “hot weird guy” who never wears a coat when he picks up his takeout order. Danger follows in Knox’s shadow. During his last five years in the human realm, his goddess has mysteriously ignored all his attempts to contact her. Now, he’s hunted by her shades, who may be plotting against her. To stay in the human realm, Knox needs a contract with a human, or he’ll be powerless to fight the shades. At first, Ellery teams up with Knox reluctantly, but a complicated attraction soon stirs between them. Amid looming, supernatural threats, Ellery confronts their insecurities over trusting others with the support of found family who challenge them to grow and affirm their self-worth. Both Ellery and Knox are cued white; Lukens’ characters reflect racial diversity in the world around the leads.

An irresistible elixir of romance and suspense. (Supernatural romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781665916257

Page Count: 352

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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