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

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An inspiring, powerful tale of belonging.

CAZADORA

From the Wolves of No World series , Vol. 2

The follow-up to Lobizona (2020) sees its protagonist’s fight for equality and acceptance reach new heights.

After the events of the first book, Manu and her friends flee their magical school and are on the run to avoid the Cazadores who aim to capture anyone who doesn’t conform to the stringent gender binary laws of their world. Manu, as the first ever known female werewolf and a Septimus/human hybrid to boot, could lose her life if she’s discovered. Illegal in both worlds, Manu’s only chance is to find the Coven, a legendary underground movement of outcasts who she hopes will welcome them with open arms. Once she meets the people of the Coven, Manu encounters a world full of Septimus who are willing to risk anything for change. But how far is Manu willing to go? In this effervescent sequel full of magic and beautiful imagery, Manu learns to reclaim her own narrative and, together with her lovable found family, including misfits Saysa and Cata as well as boyfriend Tiago, stake out a place in the world where she belongs. Refreshingly, Manu and her friends are not presented as uniquely positioned to change the world: They join a multigenerational, ongoing fight against oppression that aims to give voice to the nonconforming voiceless. All characters are Argentine, with a variety of skin tones, gender identities, and sexualities.

An inspiring, powerful tale of belonging. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23915-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.

EACH OF US A DESERT

What does it mean to come into your own power by letting go of it?

The villagers of Empalme devoutly pray to Solís, the feared higher power who unleashed La Quema, or fire, on humanity for its ills of greed, war, and jealousy. As the village cuentista, Xochitl listens to and receives the villagers’ stories into her body, clearing their consciences, preventing the manifestation of their nightmares, and releasing them to Solís in the desert. Having diligently played this role since childhood, she is now a deeply lonesome 16-year-old whose only comfort comes from cherished poems. Worn weary by her role, she leaves on an odyssey in search of another way to exist. In their sophomore novel, Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. It is a world parallel to ours, rife with Biblical references and the horrific traps that Latinx immigrants face while seeking better lives. Xochitl’s first-person, questioning narration—interlaced with terrifying cuentos that she receives on her journey—is the strongest voice, although secondary and tertiary characters, both human and mythical, are given a tenderness and humanity. All main characters are Latinx, and queer relationships are integrated with refreshing normality.

A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden. (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-16921-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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