Funny, gritty, absorbing, and occasionally depressing, this is an intriguing if occasionally melodramatic glimpse of a young...

READ REVIEW

CLANCY OF THE UNDERTOW

An Australian teen copes with poverty and family problems as she fumbles toward acceptance of her lesbianism.

Clancy is a foulmouthed, snarky, scrawny 16-year-old. Her first-person narration is peppered with slang, her conversations with older brother Angus humorously vulgar. Currie’s first teen title covers a week in Clancy’s life and veers from humor to drama and back again (several times), packing in what might feel like a few too many quirky characters and life-changing events. What with her father’s possible involvement in a fatal car crash, her older brother’s obsession with cryptids, a new friend’s unfortunate experience of being severely bullied, and her secret crush’s sudden interest, Clancy is off-balance and overwhelmed. Her self-sabotaging behavior and corrosive humor will likely be familiar to many teens, but sorting through unfamiliar words and cultural references takes work and may discourage some potential readers. Most of the supporting characters are apparently white, but Clancy, her mom, and her siblings are “part-Aboriginal.” She describes their skin as “yellowy-brown” which she attributes to her “Mum’s dad’s dad.” Aside from that single reference, however, race isn’t mentioned, leaving readers to infer for themselves how much the family’s struggles are related to prejudice.

Funny, gritty, absorbing, and occasionally depressing, this is an intriguing if occasionally melodramatic glimpse of a young Australian woman’s coming-of-age. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-925240-40-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Text

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more