A fun, supernatural mashup of different literary novels that shines on its own merit.

MY PLAIN JANE

From the Lady Janies series

Mysteries abound on the moors—and not all of them are of this world.

When Charlotte Brontë’s best friend, Jane Eyre, is offered a job with the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Charlotte is dismayed that Jane takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall instead. So Charlotte decides that she’s the right person for the job, even if she can’t see ghosts like Jane can. Nevertheless, she persists, joining her brother and his mentor, Alexander Blackwood, in serving the Society by trying to recruit Jane. Jane, however, has fallen in love with her employer and has no interest in leaving. A domino line of events follows the two white women and friends as they find love, work, ghosts, and strengths they never suspected. Hand, Ashton, and Meadows (My Lady Jane, 2016) offer up a fantastical, tongue-in-cheek plot that manages to both poke fun at and hold in high esteem the novel that provided the inspiration. A healthy dose of feminism and logic offers a contemporary perspective, often through the character of a ghost named Helen who isn’t afraid to call out Rochester’s patriarchal absurdities—even though most people can’t hear her. A passing familiarity with Jane Eyreis beneficial but not necessary for enjoying this book. Reader, it delighted.

A fun, supernatural mashup of different literary novels that shines on its own merit. (Fantasy. 13-adult)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265277-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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