Hints of tantalizing plot twists to come will have readers panting for the next installment.



From the Night School series , Vol. 1

A smart, engaging heroine and gripping, suspenseful plot trump this series opener’s all-too-predictable romance.

Angry and upset over the loss of her brother, Christopher, Allie’s vandalism gets her expelled from school—again. Her exasperated parents pack her off to Cimmeria Academy, a boarding school in the remote English countryside. Puzzlingly, her classmates aren’t troubled youth like Allie but the gifted offspring of wealthy families educated at Cimmeria for generations. Everyone, especially Allie, wonders why she’s there—and why the school’s hottest guys are smitten with her: smooth, uber-male Sylvain and smoldering, bad-boy Carter. Although readers can plot the triangle’s romantic trajectory early on, other narrative twists and turns remain pleasurably unpredictable. Cimmeria’s as much an enigma as its students. They’re not to enter the woods after dark; computers and cellphones are forbidden. A few, Sylvain and Carter included, attend the mysterious Night School but refuse to discuss it. Even Allie’s best friend, Jo, keeps secrets from her. Frustratingly, whenever love or attraction is in the air, Alllie’s gutsy leadership dissolves into old-fashioned passivity (somewhere between Bella and Katniss on the heroine-autonomy spectrum). But when the summer ball ends horrifically, Allie’s ready to take action.

Hints of tantalizing plot twists to come will have readers panting for the next installment. (Romantic thriller. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-219385-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.


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

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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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

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