It’ll take a sturdy reader not to keep flinching—or put this exercise in sensation down altogether.

THE MERCILESS

From the Merciless series , Vol. 1

Mean Girls with an occult twist.

Military kid Sofia Flores is used to moving around and always being on the outside, so she’s happy to be embraced by the queen bees in her new high school in tiny Friend, Mississippi. She is a little sorry that Riley and her posse seem to have it in for friendly Brooklyn, but she goes along with them. Though she’s been raised an unbeliever, her beloved grandmother, who lives with Sofia and her mom, is a devout Catholic; something in her responds when Riley decides to “save” her, baptizing her in the girls’ room. What she sees at a party sets off a horrific series of events that ends with maimed and dead teenagers. The bulk of the book takes place in a secret hideout in an abandoned development, and it is there that the girls viciously, bloodily confront Brooklyn, the proceedings causing Sofia to question all her moral certainties (and her immediate survival). The book comes with a “for mature audiences only” label, and refreshingly, this is not a warning about sex but about protracted, unrelenting and graphically described violence. Vega works in the occult element coyly, giving readers and Sofia only glimpses of what may or may not be supernatural evil—but there’s plenty of lovingly described, human-inflicted evil to keep strong-stomached readers occupied.

It’ll take a sturdy reader not to keep flinching—or put this exercise in sensation down altogether. (Horror. 16-18)

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59514-7226

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more