Overstuffed and requires more patience than the payoff really delivers.

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THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS

Skeptical about toxicology reports showing that her brother, Tyler, died of a heroin overdose, Megan investigates.

Tyler and Megan Brown, both white, attend a private school whose students’ parents are “a power parade of congress members and judges, lobbyists and think tankers.” Athletic and popular, Tyler seemed to have it made, so Megan can’t accept the autopsy. Looking for evidence of addiction in his room and school locker, she experiences blinding headaches and visions of Tyler’s life while handling some objects. Initially she believes she’s having a breakdown. But she keeps going, interviewing the author of a John Wilkes Booth biography, which Tyler had heavily annotated, who reveals that he shares Megan’s ability. He encourages her to trust the visions. Using the visions and with help from two friends—including Tyler’s black friend Nathan, who becomes Megan’s potential love interest—Megan uncovers the truth of Tyler’s death. It’s a fine setup for a paranormal investigation, even if the end is a bit simplistic. But the transformation in privileged private school student Tyler that Megan is surprised to discover feels forced, and Megan’s ignorance of it seems hard to believe. Furthermore, Nathan’s complicated family feels a bit like a prop, particularly given the narrative space accorded to Megan’s musings on Booth’s assassination of Lincoln.

Overstuffed and requires more patience than the payoff really delivers. (Paranormal mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-244588-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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