Though readers will need to have read (and possibly recently reread) the previous two to understand this conclusion, it...

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NO DAWN WITHOUT DARKNESS

From the No Safety in Numbers series , Vol. 3

This final novel in a trilogy about teens quarantined in a mall after their exposure to a virus is realistic in its portrayal of the lasting effects of the ordeal for the survivors.

Though it shifts the narrative focus slightly from predecessors No Easy Way Out and No Safety in Numbers (2013, 2012), this volume continues to tell the story from various points of view—including bullied Marco (who has now become a bully himself), self-doubting football player Ryan and poetry-loving Shay. However, the fate of Lexi, the daughter of a U.S. senator also locked down in the shopping center, is in question throughout most of this installment. Ginger, a dancer, is introduced as a fourth perspective instead. While the voices of each character are distinct, it can be difficult within such an action-packed plot to keep track of the movements of each. Several chapters featuring the communications of the senator to her government superiors very effectively ratchet up the suspense. The horrific actions undertaken by many of those trapped in the name of survival are disturbing but not gratuitous, and the question of morality at play in many of the characters’ decisions is fascinating.

Though readers will need to have read (and possibly recently reread) the previous two to understand this conclusion, it provides a thoughtful and broad-reaching ending to a tale of surviving dire circumstances. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3875-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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