THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

From the Good Luck Girls series , Vol. 1

In an alternate Wild West, five girls are on the run.

On the night of her sister’s debut into the world of prostitution, Aster tells Clementine to think of a song to distract herself. They are Good Luck Girls, indentured sex workers from poor, sharecropping families of a social underclass known as dustbloods. There is no outward difference between a dustblood and a fairblood, but generations ago, dustbloods had their shadows torn away, and since then their children have been born without them. When Clementine accidentally murders her first “brag,” or customer, Aster knows they must run for it. In seeking help, she unwittingly recruits three other girls itching to escape, and the five head north, where fairblood Violet insists a woman named Lady Ghost can help by removing their favors, mystical tattoos applied to the throats of Good Luck Girls that cannot be disguised. And thus begins their adventure, which also involves robbing men who deserve it and having to avoid vicious ghosts called vengeants and soulless, evil club bouncers/bounty hunters called raveners. Inventive language and outlaw girls are nothing new in Westerns, but debut author Davis’ richly imagined setting goes deeper than that, questioning the difference between ethics and law, exploring the complexity of socio-economic advantage and disadvantage, and exposing the lengths men will go to control and constrain women. Characters have varying shades of skin, from light to dark, and hair of different colors and textures.

This one is a winner. (Speculative adventure. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-29970-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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