A departure from the Mean Girls aesthetic of the first book but a sequel still meant for only the most unflinching of readers

THE EXORCISM OF SOFIA FLORES

From the Merciless series , Vol. 2

Sofia Flores returns, this time to save her own soul, as a relentless demon, Catholic dogma, and a sinfully attractive classmate threaten to tear her apart in Vega’s gruesome sequel to Merciless (2014).

In the aftermath of an attempted exorcism conducted on the charismatic Brooklyn that left her three best friends dead, Latina teen Sofia wants nothing more than a fresh start. Her wish is granted when her mother dies in a freak car accident and Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a remote Catholic boarding school where every student has something to confess. Despite quickly befriending her roommates and catching the eye of the impossibly perfect and secretive Jude, Sofia can’t shake the black feelings of jealousy and desire that cling to her every interaction. When some of her darker thoughts (like wishing something awful should befall her chipper, Asian roommate, Leena) come horribly true, Sofia frantically searches for any means of salvation, terrified that Brooklyn and the past she wants so desperately to leave behind will soon reappear to claim her. Turning to a classic Stephen King–style horror plot that relies on an isolated setting as much as bloodied bodies and hellishly inventive violence, Vega’s grisly second installment rips into biblical platitudes to lay bare the notions of deliverance and redemption.

A departure from the Mean Girls aesthetic of the first book but a sequel still meant for only the most unflinching of readers . (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59514-726-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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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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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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