SUPER ADJACENT

Fandoms and feelings collide in this epic tale of superhero plus ones.

Summer break sees purple-haired, 17-year-old Claire vying for a highly competitive internship with Warrior Nation, a group of superheroes. But none of the fan theories she devours could prepare her for falling for the group’s youngest recruit, a “hot, teenage girl” named Joy, aka Girl Power. Meanwhile, fellow teen Bridgette wants to make a name for herself as an artist without banking on the fame of her superboyfriend, 20-something Matt, aka Vaporizer. When a supervillain kidnaps Warrior Nation’s heroes, Claire and Bridgette must step up and save Chicago in their stead. But can they uncover the villain’s identity before it’s too late? Cestari’s (The Fairest Kind of Love, 2019, etc.) latest packages internet fan culture alongside corporatized superhero culture for a smartly contemporary twist. The narrative shifts between Claire and Bridgette, interspersing text messages, tweets, and excerpts from fake media. While basic criminal motivations make for an ultimately weak resolution, the text is buoyed by its quick plot, contagious tone, and banter-filled romance. The pressure on heroes to develop personal brands invites surface-level discussion of the impossible standards placed on women. Though two heroes of color make up Warrior Nation’s quartet (Vaporizer has “dark chocolate eyes” and “caramel” skin; Earthquake is cued as black), the story is primarily driven by white main characters.

Sky-high superfeels. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02398-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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