A dazzling, emotional story of love, loss, and living in the moment.

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THE BEST WEEK THAT NEVER HAPPENED

A teen girl gets to live the best week of her life, but something feels wrong.

Tegan Rossi wakes up in the secret-hideout lava tube of her childhood vacations on the Big Island of Hawaii. She doesn’t remember how she got there, why she’s there, or really anything since graduating high school a few weeks prior. When she finds Kai Kapule, the childhood friend from Hawaii she’s kept in touch with, she concludes she must have come to surprise him. Tegan gets caught up in paradise with Kai, letting herself give in to the moment. But things aren’t quite right: Nightmares haunt her sleep, her scar from an old sports injury is gone, no one can reach her parents, and she’s got an unexplainable hourglass tattoo. This debut novel is captivating and moving. Most of the story is told from Tegan’s present-day point of view, with her memories and messages from Kai woven in. The nightmare she has keeps building on itself, revealing more of her lost memories, creating anticipation and suspense. There is hope in second chances, mixed with first love and the fear, heartache, and joy of living. Some of the best experiences Hawaii has to offer are highlighted, including shave ice, waterfalls, snorkeling, and malasadas. Kai’s name cues him as Hawaiian; Tegan is implied white.

A dazzling, emotional story of love, loss, and living in the moment. (Fantasy romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-951710-11-8

Page Count: 303

Publisher: Month9Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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