A magical, enthralling must-read.

CITY OF STONE AND SILENCE

From the Wells of Sorcery Trilogy series , Vol. 2

Having recently assumed leadership, Isoka must help her crew survive in a new land and take control of Soliton in this well-executed sequel.

After leading everyone to safety from the Vile Rot, Isoka is the new leader of Soliton’s crew. Set on a predetermined path, the ship arrives at its destination, the Harbor. The Harbor is an ancient city of stone ziggurats encased in a dome of Eddica—or Spirits—magic. Living in a delicate balance are the Cresos clan aristocrats, monks called the Minders, and Prime, an Eddicant who terrorizes everyone with the living dead. Isoka must find a way to take control of the Harbor and Soliton to save her sister, Tori. What Isoka doesn’t know is that Tori has been sneaking away from her luxurious life to help at a lower-ward hospital and sanctuary for runaway mage-bloods. When Isoka doesn’t show up for Tori’s birthday, Tori’s search for answers brings her into the middle of a rebellion. Using her secret power of Kindre, Tori bends minds as she seeks Isoka. Alternating between the two sisters’ points of view, each chapter is captivating and ends in suspense. Wexler (Ship of Smoke and Steel, 2019, etc.) does not disappoint, delving deeper into Isoka’s journey but also exploring Tori’s life, thereby revealing hierarchal problems and discrimination in this highly diverse, magical society.

A magical, enthralling must-read. (map, Wells of Sorcery list) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9727-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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