It may be difficult for readers to keep track of the vast ensemble of characters, particularly if they haven’t read the...

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FERAL NIGHTS

From the Feral series , Vol. 1

Shape-shifting werepeople battle to survive on a remote island while vampires, Yeti-like creatures and other creeps hunt them for sport in this action-packed, goofy companion novel featuring secondary characters from the series that began with Tantalize (2007).

Werecat Yoshi heads toward Austin, Texas, looking to find his sister Ruby, who’s been missing since her involvement in the death of an evil vampire chef and a well-liked teenage werearmadillo, Travis. He enlists the unlikely help of Travis’ friends, a human, Aimee, and a wereopossum, Clyde. The trio is eventually kidnapped and spirited to the island, where the story takes its surprising Survivor/Hunger Games turn. Teens who favor humorous paranormal romance that never takes itself too seriously will enjoy dialogue that sparkles with wit, filled with both literary and pop-culture references. (“You’re saying that you and my sister perform exorcisms on vomiting children with rotating heads?”) Aimee, Yoshi and Clyde take turns narrating in the first person, each of them sarcastic, with varying levels of self-deprecating snark coloring their inner monologues.

It may be difficult for readers to keep track of the vast ensemble of characters, particularly if they haven’t read the previous four books, but many won’t care—instead they’ll be wrapped up in the playful, smart tone. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5909-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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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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