Struggling or reluctant readers may be perplexed, but the gripping, if violent, teen content will keep them engaged....

PALE

The Lazarus serum allows people with the right blood type to survive death, but in this minimalist dystopia, death may be preferable to the grim future that awaits the resurrected.

The serum has side effects. Pales, the resurrected, don’t breathe, their hearts stop beating, and they never age; skin, hair and eye pupils turn ghostly white. Jed’s community hates the Pales, confining them to the Graveyard, a decayed ghetto. His lawyer dad specializes in denying Pales post-mortem legal rights. Not long after Jed and his brutal friend Kyle beat up a Pale, Jed dies in a car accident, and his distraught girlfriend, Sadie, asks first responders to give him the serum. Now that Jed’s a Pale, his father can’t bear to see him; his friends, even Sadie, reject him. Good genre fiction offers readers a fresh, unique perspective on their world. This rare science-fiction hi-lo for teens (a category largely confined to urban realism) by a British fantasy author raises tough, intriguing questions about insiders and outcasts, gangs, loyalty and what makes life worth living. However, the exceptionally tight word count limits their exploration. This frustratingly vague world cries out for detail and context.

Struggling or reluctant readers may be perplexed, but the gripping, if violent, teen content will keep them engaged. Guaranteed to generate lively discussion. (Science fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-7811-2092-7

Page Count: 67

Publisher: Stoke Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

For fans of brooding bad boys and the pastel goth accidental necromancers who love them.

THE WHISPERING DARK

A deaf scholarship student at an occult university is plagued by ghosts.

Delaney Meyers-Petrov is so done with being treated like she’s fragile, but she’s not sure if she can hack it at Howe University, where the interdimensional travel program is mostly White, old-money kids who’ve been training for this their whole lives. Between the school’s lack of accommodations and her own internalized ableism, she is struggling, and her cochlear implant doesn’t help enough for her to keep up. Laney’s grateful for assistance from her (hot, muscular, rude) TA, Colton Price, but he hates her for some reason. Little does Laney know that Colton’s part of an occult boys’ club which plays with the boundary of death itself—a boundary Colton’s already crossed once. Laney, a girl with an extremely deliberate goth-adorable aesthetic, is well served by the purple prose (“the shadow-bitten arch of the doorway,” “suckling on the teat of decay”) and dialogue that wobbles between angst and snark in the style of teen paranormal television. Her unusual necromantic powers make her an irresistible target for the power players at Howe (where every figure with power and authority is male, and her peers and allies are all female), but at least Colton is sexy while he deceives and manipulates her. The worldbuilding is shaky but the romantic agita and ironic wit are present in spades. Most characters default to White.

For fans of brooding bad boys and the pastel goth accidental necromancers who love them. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80947-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more