DARK HEIR

From the Dark Rise series , Vol. 2

A focused and fast-paced entry that moves the storyline along.

Coming of age proves difficult when one’s identity is deeply tied to the past.

Will has accepted the horrible truth: He is not the Reborn Lady of Light but rather the Reborn Dark King. Katherine, a true descendant of the Lady, tried to kill him when she found out, losing her life in the process. Will must keep his identity secret from his remaining companions as they try to maneuver and stay a step ahead of the forces still working to resurrect the Dark King’s power. The group opens a magical gate that takes them to the Umbria region of Italy, but half the party is left behind, including Violet, their strongest fighter, and young Elizabeth, the other descendant of the Lady. Will travels with James, the Reborn betrayer of the Light, who holds a former connection to the Dark King. The two young men grow closer, but how much of their relationship is colored by their past selves? Meanwhile, an ancient champion reawakens in Katherine’s body. The second installment of this series following 2021’s Dark Rise clips along at a much more energetic pace than the earlier entry, especially now that the main characters better understand their circumstances. The author includes a good blend of action, intrigue, and relationship-building moments. Queer relationships and elements of body dysphoria are addressed. Most characters are light-skinned; Violet is white and Indian.

A focused and fast-paced entry that moves the storyline along. (Historical fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780062946171

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Close Quickview