A riveting story of survival, determination, love, and friendship

A biracial teen seeks justice for her murdered father in Prohibition-era Oregon

The daughter of a white woman and an African-American man whose marriage was not recognized by the law, 16-year-old Hanalee has few legal rights during the 1920s, an era of extreme intolerance exacerbated by the ever present specter of racial violence from the Ku Klux Klan. Hanalee’s father, “the last full-blooded Negro in Elston, Oregon,” was struck and killed by a drunk-driving teenager a year earlier. When the teen is released from prison, he tells Hanalee that the doctor who tended to her father the night of the accident is the real killer—the doctor who just happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather. With clear parallels to Hamlet, Hanalee struggles to uncover the truth about her father’s death, hoping the truth will protect her and those she loves and put her father’s wandering soul to rest. A fast-paced read with multiple twists, the novel delivers a history lesson wrapped inside a murder mystery and ghost story. Winters deftly captures the many injustices faced by marginalized people in the years following World War I as well as a glimmer of hope for the better America to come.

A riveting story of survival, determination, love, and friendship . (Historical mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1915-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015


A story to sink one’s teeth into.

In this vampire thriller set in Mahurin’s Serpent and Dove series, the darkness a young woman fears most is hungry for her blood.

Six months ago, Célie Tremblay helped kill a terrorizing sorceress after enduring unspeakable horrors at her hands. Scarred but not broken, she took the Chasseurs’ sacred vow to protect her world from evil magic. She is hell-bent on proving herself, but even bronze-skinned Jean Luc, her captain and fiance, acts like she’s fragile, and she cannot abide being treated like a doll. Striking off on her own, pale, green-eyed Célie is plunged into a world she thought only existed in fairy tales and nightmares. With unlikely allies by her side, she must confront an evil so strong that it’s sickening even the realms beyond life. Mahurin crafts a heady, convoluted tale that could have been several hundred pages shorter. The story walks a thin line between serious gothic horror and spoof. Though the plot leans heavily into its clichés, it delivers some genuinely shocking twists, and it’s all too easy to become invested in Célie’s plight. She is a willful, headstrong, and eminently relatable narrator whose emotional outbursts, impulsivity, and keen wit frustrate and delight in equal measure. The romance elements feel neither forced nor entirely natural, but regardless, they make for compelling drama. A colorful cast of supporting characters does much to enliven the richly vivid setting.

A story to sink one’s teeth into. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780063258754

Page Count: 640

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023


From the Drowned Gods Duology series , Vol. 1

The magical world is fresh, but the storyline is less satisfying.

In a world where everyone has a magical ability based on the moon’s phase on their day of birth, magical education is reserved for those with exceptional talent.

Students at Aldryn College for Lunar Magics pursue the advanced study of magic. Emory Ainsleif is a Healer, an ability associated with House New Moon. Last spring, she followed her best friend, Romie Brysden, and seven others into the Dovermere Caves. In the deepest cave, known as the Belly of the Beast, Emory unwittingly took part in a ritual that left a peculiar mark on her wrist and left the other students dead. Back at Aldryn for the new school year, Emory begins to develop magical abilities that go beyond healing—and that she’s unable to control. She turns to Baz, Romie’s brother, for help—Baz was born during an eclipse, giving him unpredictable magic. Reluctant to train Emory but eager to find out what happened to his sister, Baz finally agrees, and together they begin to unravel what happened last spring. This dark fantasy, told in Emory’s and Baz’s alternating third-person perspectives, has a spooky atmosphere and rich worldbuilding. It slowly unfolds to reveal what really happened to Romie, but predictable plot twists and a gratuitous deus ex machina may frustrate readers. The central characters are described as having pale skin.

The magical world is fresh, but the storyline is less satisfying. (content warnings, Sacred Lunar Houses & their tidal alignments) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781665939270

Page Count: 544

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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