DEATH AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

Falling in love with a supernova-level handsome hunk when you’re only a sophomore can cause problems, but when you discover that he’s actually the Angel of Death, you might want to think twice.

Lorelei does well in school until she meets the amazingly gorgeous Jared. She can’t believe he seems attracted to her instead of all the really pretty girls in her small-town New Mexico high school. Meanwhile, she worries about Cameron, another hunky student, who appears to be stalking her. It turns out that Cameron is stalking Jared, however, in an attempt to protect Lorelei. When Jared must make the decision to take Lorelei’s life, he goes rogue. Will his decision get him into trouble in Heaven, and can Cameron contain his rage against Jared? When Lorelei learns that she herself has some paranormal powers, she begins to understand some of the mysteries of her past. However, someone else appears to be stalking Lorelei, and he might menace her even more than the grim reaper. Jones deliberately keeps her tone light, with constant comic banter among the three friends even as battles rage between Jared and Cameron. The light atmosphere clashes somewhat with the overall level of suspense, but readers may not care. She hits plenty of buttons: impossibly handsome boys, supernatural powers, hot romance, friendship, school rivalries, suspense and comedy. The final scene sets up sequels, natch.

Agreeable if formulaic. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-62520-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences.

REALM BREAKER

When the realm is in danger, only a small band of misfits can save Allward.

An in medias res prologue, told from the point of view of the lone squire accompanying the 12 Companions of the Realm, tosses readers into the thick of a quest. Half the Companions are human heroes and half are immortal Elders; they seek to stop a rogue thief and his wizard accomplice from using a magical Spindle to tear a passage between worlds for nefarious ends. A disastrous battle sends squire Andry fleeing with Cortael’s sword so villain Taristan can’t get his hands on it. Grieving Elder Dom requires both a person of Corblood (a descendant of human travelers from another realm) and the Spindleblade Andry protects to stop Taristan from bringing ruin to the realm. Dom seeks Cortael’s secret daughter, Corayne, a bright but sheltered teenager with a pirate mother. At times the narrative tension is undermined by flashbacks that readers already know the conclusions to and by occasional repetition caused by the multiple point-of-view jumps, but there’s a wide variety of action scenes, daring escapes, and betrayals. Many tropes and character types are familiar, but exquisite descriptions and clashing motivations result in a nuanced, sprawling realm with a sense of complicated history. This world is highly diverse in terms of both skin tone and in the refreshing range of roles female characters inhabit.

An epic series opener of old-school high fantasy catering to modern audiences. (map) (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-287262-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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