Fine for diehard romance fans.

THE LIFEGUARD

A girl spends the summer at her aunt’s beach house and falls for a fascinating, handsome lifeguard with supernatural healing powers.

Sirena can’t help but be drawn to the seemingly magical lifeguard, who turns out actually to be named “Pilot.” She also finds Antonio, an 80-year old-beach artist, quite magnetic. Sirena’s obsession gets out of control when she steals Antonio’s painting of Pilot, then confesses to the old man. She’s jealous when she sees Pilot with a blond bombshell of a girl she assumes is his girlfriend. She dips a toe into the ocean during a time of dangerous riptides and nearly drowns, also getting stung by a stingray. When doctors want to amputate her leg, Pilot heals it. Antonio dies and leaves Sirena his magic paintbrush and, apparently, his painting talent. And aha! Perhaps the blond isn’t a girlfriend after all! Blumenthal writes suspenseful episodes, but she tends to abandon them and move on to the next one, which adds up to a narrative that doesn’t flow well. For example, readers see Sirena, just after Antonio’s death, painting with newfound, zealous ability until the wee hours, but there is no description of the resulting painting. Throw in clichéd phrases such as “Would I ever feel I’d taken in enough of his face? His being? His touch?” for an undemanding beach read.

Fine for diehard romance fans. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4535-5

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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