An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen...

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Within the crumbling city of Detroit, two grief-stricken teens discover a tenuous thread that ties their personal tragedies together and concoct a sinister plan for vengeance.

Johnny is a handsome, olive-skinned, Mexican jock who excels at sports but has difficulties academically. Becca is a fair, red-haired honor student whose brilliance is overshadowed by her lack of social skills. The two, with seemingly nothing in common, meet coincidentally at a crash site where Becca's twin sister, Brit, and Johnny’s mother both died in a head-on collision. Becca, believing that the accident was anything but, befriends Johnny and convinces him to help her exact a plan for revenge. Their friendship deepens into romance, as does her control over him. When their plan goes horribly wrong—though wrong apparently only to Johnny—he begins to question the truth about Becca, their relationship, and their jointly diabolical plot for retribution. The story is told in short, keep-the-pages-flying, alternating chapters by Johnny and Becca, allowing readers to get into their heads as the intensity of their relationship ratchets to a darkly dangerous climax. Rife with angst and twists, Becca and Johnny's machinations seem to come to a somewhat far-reaching end; however, with the intense pacing and plotting, this should be easily forgiven.

An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen lens. (Thriller. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4599-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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