A satisfying adaptation for teens who want their thrills clean.

THE DA VINCI CODE

The bestselling page-turner, adapted for young readers.

Harvard religious symbology professor Robert Langdon is in Paris for a speaking engagement when he is summoned to the Louvre after-hours. The museum’s curator has been brutally murdered, and mysterious circumstances make Langdon a suspect in the eyes of the police and a clue in the eyes of the curator’s estranged granddaughter, cryptologist Sophie Neveu. Sophie and Robert escape the French police and follow clues left behind that lead through history and secret societies and to a stunning secret that threatens to destroy the Catholic Church and change the world forever. The thriller that was ubiquitous in the early 2000s has been out of the spotlight just long enough to feel fresh to this adaptation’s intended audience, but there isn’t much difference between this book and the original. The sexy bits have been cut out, which is odd. It would seem the publisher feels that America’s young people can’t handle an orgy, but it can handle a destabilization of belief systems that have governed human relations for a couple thousand years. At least there’s no attempt to “young up” Robert and Sophie and cast them as teenage prodigies. Regardless, Brown’s tale remains engrossing, prompting quick turns of the page and readings in one sitting. The exposition can be clunky at times, and the tertiary characters are expendable, but the big reveal is a blast, a pulpy solution that perfectly dovetails with the Indiana Jones–meets–Sherlock Holmes vibe the novel is constantly striving for. Bring on Angels and Demons.

A satisfying adaptation for teens who want their thrills clean. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1582-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2016

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER

A teenage, not-so-lonely loner endures the wilds of high school in Austin, Texas.

Norris Kaplan, the protagonist of Philippe’s debut novel, is a hypersweaty, uber-snarky black, Haitian, French-Canadian pushing to survive life in his new school. His professor mom’s new tenure-track job transplants Norris mid–school year, and his biting wit and sarcasm are exposed through his cataloging of his new world in a field guide–style burn book. He’s greeted in his new life by an assortment of acquaintances, Liam, who is white and struggling with depression; Maddie, a self-sacrificing white cheerleader with a heart of gold; and Aarti, his Indian-American love interest who offers connection. Norris’ ego, fueled by his insecurities, often gets in the way of meaningful character development. The scenes showcasing his emotional growth are too brief and, despite foreshadowing, the climax falls flat because he still gets incredible personal access to people he’s hurt. A scene where Norris is confronted by his mother for getting drunk and belligerent with a white cop is diluted by his refusal or inability to grasp the severity of the situation and the resultant minor consequences. The humor is spot-on, as is the representation of the black diaspora; the opportunity for broader conversations about other topics is there, however, the uneven buildup of detailed, meaningful exchanges and the glibness of Norris’ voice detract.

Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-282411-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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