KATANA

From the Katana series , Vol. 1

An ordinary St. Louis teen finds that she has a distinctly un-ordinary legacy when she's attacked in a shopping-mall parking lot.

Until the assault that wakens a terrifying internal voice and preternatural martial-arts abilities, Rileigh has spent her time hanging with her gay BFF Quentin and mooning over hottie Whitley. Now she finds herself coping with the unwanted attention of the mysterious, sandalwood-scented hottie Kim, who insists that she take up training in his dojo. It seems he thinks that she is the reincarnation of his 15th-century lover; the two were samurai who died at the hands of an evil ninja. Now Kim wants to "awaken" her past self using the titular katana she wielded in her earlier life. She wants none of this, but does she have a choice? Is the reincarnation of the evil ninja behind the continuing attacks? Nothing about this debut surprises, from the stock characters to the turgid action scenes. Gibsen laces her narrative with holes: If Kim and Rileigh have been reincarnated multiple times and repeatedly drawn together by psychic destiny, why is there no hint of other past lives? And the writing is frequently downright amateurish, turning out ridiculous similes—"My heart spun in my chest, as if it were the wheel of a gerbil hopped up on Pixy Stix"—when it's not indulging in cliché—"With breakneck speed, I darted to the window and flattened myself against the wall."

Pass. (Paranormal romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3040-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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