Part high school drama, part suspense, the fast pace will keep readers on edge from start to finish.

THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU

“You are cordially invited to a night of murder and mayhem!”

Juniper Torres, Ruby Valentine, Parker Addison, Brett Carmichael, and Gavin Moon receive mysterious invitations from the Ringmaster to attend a murder-mystery dinner contest. The winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship—something they each desperately need. As they arrive at the Cherry Street Mansion and take their seats around a table, it is obvious that the Ringmaster has more in store for them than a simple game. Reading dossiers for their characters for the evening, it becomes evident that they have been watched for a long time and that the Ringmaster—clearly someone who knows them well—is in the house and is out for revenge: revenge for what happened at Dahlia Kane’s Christmas party months ago; revenge for the secrets they each carry that could ruin all their lives. From the first page there is an ominous feeling as information about each character is revealed, leaving readers trying to guess who is behind the mysterious Ringmaster. While the mystery is the main focus, the complex relationships between the characters and how they evolve really drive the story. The fear is palpable, and the surprise is real as readers gradually unravel the tangled web of lies. Juniper is Latinx, Gavin is Asian, and the other main characters are white.

Part high school drama, part suspense, the fast pace will keep readers on edge from start to finish. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4324-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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