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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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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