Occasionally illogical and often trippy, a “high” adventure for young adrenaline junkies.



A world-weary teen faces the end of her superpowered-cop career.

Adopting a fight-fire-with-fire strategy, New York City’s experimental Tetra Response Unit employs teens as runners, offering them a steady supply of TTZ, or tetra, so they can be as fast and strong as the breaknecks—drug-fueled teen criminals—they are trying to catch. But the rush cannot last forever, for each runner must stop when puberty does, and time is running out for Alana West. The Feds are angling to shut down the team; she hasn’t found the breakneck who landed her brother, Reuben, in a wheelchair; and she is almost 18. After a bust goes bad and Alana ends up a scapegoat, she accepts an undercover assignment to find the street dealer who supplies the breaknecks. Driven by revenge, rage, and a barely acknowledged addiction, Alana claims responsibility for her brother’s accident but ignores her own TTZ–fueled trail of destruction. Aside from impulsive kissing episodes, Alana never feels particularly adolescent but is instead part wronged action hero—reminiscent of 1980s cop movies—and part junkie. Howard delivers gritty action sequences and an overabundance of vivid tetra-fueled visuals, but his dialogue is filled with cliché-riddled, slang-heavy, YOLO terms. Alana is biracial Latina, with a white father and Honduran mother, but there’s little cultural detail supplied as grounding.

Occasionally illogical and often trippy, a “high” adventure for young adrenaline junkies. (Adventure. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241534-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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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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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.


A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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