A fresh, funny, new twist on a classic fairy tale

MY FAIRY GODMOTHER IS A DRAG QUEEN

When Prince Charming meets his beau….

Seventeen-year-old Chris Bellows is pretty much a modern-day, white, male Cinderella. He’s at the beck and call of his WASP-y, boozy, socialite stepmom, Iris, his bitchy, attention-hungry stepsister, Kimberly, and his jock douchebag stepbrother, Buck, who has an endless supply of gross one-liners on tap. The novel opens with Chris helping his family get ready for New York City’s most elite social event, The Autumnal Ball at The Plaza. Once the steps are on their way, Chris runs into a fabulous, shade-throwing, foulmouthed African-American drag queen named Coco Chanel Jones, who, in true fairy-godmother form, decks him out in some oversized Ferragamos plus a fancy suit. Before he knows it, he’s inside the party making googly eyes at the prince of New York City society, dreamy, white J.J. Kennerly. Readers can imagine what happens next. Clawson clearly loves all of his characters, as they are eloquently drawn, with just as many reasons for readers to love them as faults. He also knows how to spin double-edged zingers that are simultaneously gross yet witty: “You’re later than my first period.” What ensues is a fast-paced, riotous, laugh-out-loud yet insightful story of secret love between two closeted gay teens, with Kimberly unknowingly serving as J.J.’s beard.

A fresh, funny, new twist on a classic fairy tale . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1411-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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