Somewhat enjoyable provided it’s not examined too closely.


From the Windy City Magic series , Vol. 1

A magical matchmaker searches for her own true love in this magic-infused Chicago.

Amber Sand descends from a long line of witches—her family goes all the way back to Salem—but all she can do is look into someone’s eyes and see their true love. Matchmaking is a far cry from being a witch like her mother or a precog like her best friend, Amani Sharma—or a siren like Ivy Chamberlain, the villain in an underbaked bullying plotline. Also poorly developed is Amber’s relationship with her mother, summed up with her frustration that “Mom always thinks like a witch first and a mother second.” Then Charlie Blitzman, one of Amber’s classmates, asks for her help in finding his father’s missing girlfriend. As they investigate, Amber and Charlie draw closer, but Amber can’t help feeling guilty. She’s falling for Charlie—but she knows she’s not his true love. Or maybe her matchmaking isn’t sure-fire, given how Amani reacts to her predicted true love….Character development feels forced. Amber seems to act immaturely for a high school senior, and her use of sign language with Amani comes across as obtrusively quirky. Despite the use of a Swahili first name and Sanskrit surname to signal that Amani may be a person of color, there is no exploration of her identity. The conclusion clumsily sets up a sequel, one bound to blow up Amber's sweet, engaging romance with Charlie.

Somewhat enjoyable provided it’s not examined too closely. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-5272-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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


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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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.


A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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