Never terribly fraught or demanding, but with a twisty plot and death-defying action, this romance delivers teen yearning...

SENSHI

From the Katana series , Vol. 2

Rileigh, or Senshi as she was once known, is a sassy high school girl in love with her boyfriend, Kim. It just so happens that her relationship with Kim has spanned 500 years—Rileigh is a powerful, reincarnated samurai warrior.

What begins as a date with the love of Rileigh’s many lives suddenly turns into a booty-kicking battle against ninjas. Next, Rileigh’s samurai nemesis, Whitley, whom she left for dead in the last book, Katana (2012), starts lurking around. Moreover, her friends seem to be in the grip of sinister mind control as Rileigh finds herself having to fight off surprise ninja attacks at every turn. But the real tragedy is that Kim suddenly dumps her for his thought-to-be-dead betrothed from the 1400s. Riding the subplot of teen romance, the story’s forward motion occasionally gets bogged down by repetition. Most interesting are the infrequent flashback chapters of Senshi in Japan when she’s on the verge of becoming a 15th-century courtesan. Eventually, the mastermind behind the havoc is discovered, and Rileigh must join forces with friends she thought foes and foes she thought friends in order to destroy the villain and save her life and her love.

Never terribly fraught or demanding, but with a twisty plot and death-defying action, this romance delivers teen yearning with martial arts kicks. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3261-9

Page Count: 408

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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