This lackluster addition to the bloated teen-paranormal-romance genre has nothing new to offer.


From the Birthright series , Vol. 1

The first book in Tiernan’s Birthright series (Eternally Yours, 2012, etc.) is both predictable and unoriginal.

Vivi Neves has known she’s one of the haguari, an ancient race of shape-shifting jaguar people, since she was 13. After five years of fighting her parents’ efforts to persuade her to embrace her heritage, Vivi is forced to change for the first time when she and her parents are attacked during a family picnic. Her parents end up dead, her father’s heart missing. Among her parents’ belongings, Vivi uncovers evidence of an aunt she never knew existed and heads to New Orleans to find her. Instead, she meets her 20-something cousin, Matéo, whose parents died a year and a half before, their hearts also taken. Vivi moves in with Matéo and his girlfriend and their many haguari friends, and she finds safety and normalcy in her barista job at a local cafe. There, she begins a will-they-won’t-they relationship with moody Rafael, the manager. Vivi’s first-person narration is an exhausting mix of back story and summary that prevents the plot from developing. She thinks and speaks in ellipses and speculative questions, and her snarky voice is whiny rather than quirky. Her jaguar voice is a stream-of-consciousness jumble of broken and run-on sentences in present tense, and the move from one voice to the other is jarring. The anticlimactic ending will leave readers too frustrated to read subsequent installments to find out who is kidnapping haguari and taking their hearts.

This lackluster addition to the bloated teen-paranormal-romance genre has nothing new to offer. (Paranormal romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8246-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes.


Former boyfriends’ “big Broadway love story” gets a revival in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018).

Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn’t have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his “ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job” interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren’t boyfriends, the connection—and attraction—is definitely there. Arthur’s officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a “Ben-addled mess.” Cue the confusion—and inevitable broken hearts—as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli’s and Silvera’s voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys’ situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben’s and Arthur’s perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White.

Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307163-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary,...

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The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys’ home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption—together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. 

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-16031-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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