Hankies, cold showers and possibly a neck brace for all the emotional whiplash are recommended.

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TIGER'S VOYAGE

From the Tiger's Curse series , Vol. 3

Hunky Indian were-tiger–sibling rivals continue to claw at the heart of their American lady love in this quest quartet’s penultimate doorstopper.

Devastated that the elder brother, Ren, walled off all memory of their passionate love and psychic attachment in the previous episode (he had his reasons), Kelsey embraces the sultry affections of Kishan. No sooner does she promise Kishan that he’s The One than Ren regains his memories, though, and, being jealous and controlling as well as still being her “blue eyed prince” and “dark Poseidon,” proceeds to screw the romantic conflict to agonizing levels. (So to speak: For all the steamy snogging, neither tiger prince still even gets to second base here.) Eventually Kelsey and company set off on a nautical quest for a magical Necklace that is the third of the goddess Durga’s four promised gifts and the next stage in removing the ancient curse that forces the two men to spend part of each day as big cats. Having thrown a kraken, a giant shark and no fewer than five dragons at her tempestuous trio, Houck trots in the malign sorcerer Lokesh for a climactic battle, and sets up the closer with a cliffhanger reversal of fortune. Lines such as, “It’s time for me to let myself love again,” and, “Ren’s love was an all-consuming fire, but Kishan was more like…a space heater,” are representative.

Hankies, cold showers and possibly a neck brace for all the emotional whiplash are recommended. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8405-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Splinter/Sterling

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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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

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