FURY OF THE PHOENIX

Ai Ling's second adventure is every bit as sensuous as Silver Phoenix (2009) in a tale that moves between two times and two cultures. Chen Yong, Ai Ling's unattainable love interest from her previous world-saving adventure, is traveling on a quest to find his unknown foreigner father. Ai Ling has premonitions of danger and stows away to join Chen Yong on his journey to the Europe-inspired country of his father's birth. Ai Ling's developing powers will be instrumental in fighting off pirates and sea monsters, but they may also be causing her strange dreams. These dreams, of her old antagonist Zhong Ye, appear as interleaved chapters within Ai Ling's own adventure. In these historical visions, Zhong Ye is not the archvillain defeated so recently. Instead, he's an eager young power player in the Empire's distant past, his search for success touched by love and betrayal. Zhong Ye’s tragic history, like Ai Ling's own, is grounded in sensuous and carnal detail. The meals alone—from perfectly spiced beef tongue in one country's past to sugar-encrusted almonds in another land's present—can be more enthralling than Ai Ling and Zhong Ye’s parallel quests. The intertwining of the two histories is rushed and chaotic, but lush detail will enthrall, from tantalizingly detailed food to gruesome demonic tortures. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

 

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-173025-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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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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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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