GYPSY DAVEY

Slow-witted, 12-year-old Davey lived with his neglectful and sometimes abusive mother, Lois, and his older sister, Joanne, until Joanne moved out at 17 to get married. She was pregnant at the time, and now Davey baby-sits for her son, Dennis, as Joanne follows in her mother's footsteps. Davey narrates the present, while alternating chapters fill in events from the past about Davey's and Joanne's childhood; how Joanne became Davey's surrogate mother (she was seven, he was two); how she eventually gave up trying to raise him and keep house and joined a gang; how she finally became what she most hated—her mother. Gypsy Davey—as he is nicknamed by his only friend, a drug dealer who is later killed by a rival—finds solace in riding his bike, caring for his nephew, and the occasional visits of his absentee father. But Lynch's (Iceman, p. 146, etc.) story is less about Davey than about the two women in his life and their struggle against each other and themselves. Ultimately, they both lose, and it is Davey who suffers. A grim and penetrating look at the cycle of abuse. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-023586-1

Page Count: 180

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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LONG WAY DOWN

After 15-year-old Will sees his older brother, Shawn, gunned down on the streets, he sets out to do the expected: the rules dictate no crying, no snitching, and revenge.

Though the African-American teen has never held one, Will leaves his apartment with his brother’s gun tucked in his waistband. As he travels down on the elevator, the door opens on certain floors, and Will is confronted with a different figure from his past, each a victim of gun violence, each important in his life. They also force Will to face the questions he has about his plan. As each “ghost” speaks, Will realizes how much of his own story has been unknown to him and how intricately woven they are. Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending. There is considerable symbolism, including the 15 bullets in the gun and the way the elevator rules parallel street rules. Reynolds masterfully weaves in textured glimpses of the supporting characters. Throughout, readers get a vivid picture of Will and the people in his life, all trying to cope with the circumstances of their environment while expressing the love, uncertainty, and hope that all humans share.

This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion. (Verse fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3825-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting

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THREE DARK CROWNS

From the Three Dark Crowns series , Vol. 1

The opener to a pitch-black epic fantasy series horrifically upends the bonds of sisterhood.

Every generation, magically gifted triplet girls are born to rule Fennbirn, and it is the duty of each young queen to try to murder the others once they come of age. But this time only the elemental Mirabella has yet displayed any power, as the naturalist Arsinoe and poisoner Katherine are deemed weak and giftless. Although kindhearted Mirabella shows some reluctance to kill, both headstrong Arsinoe and abused Katherine are more than ready to employ any tactic to live...and win. Blake has constructed an insular, all-white, matriarchal society from convincing intimate details. As the personal lives, loves, and betrayals of the three queens are manipulated by their supporting factions, the intricate machinations of the plot never overwhelm the vivid, complicated characters of the queens and those closest to them; while it’s impossible not to sympathize with each, it is equally difficult to root for any of them. The omniscient third-person present-tense narration, switching every chapter among various players preparing for, scheming about, and even fleeing the upcoming ritual competition, employs sumptuous, poetic prose (if little of Blake’s trademark wit) with an odd detachment, creating a fablelike distance from even the grisly, shocking climax.

Gorgeous and bloody, tender and violent, elegant, precise, and passionate; above all, completely addicting . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-238543-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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