The frequent shifts make it hard to keep track of who’s where in this dizzying debut, but Ephraim’s ability to see past the...

FAIR COIN

A spin through parallel universes schools a teenager in the hazards of making wishes.

Ephraim comes home one day to find his troubled mother in the midst of a suicide attempt—having just, she claims, viewed his body in the morgue. More puzzling still, among the corpse’s effects is a strange-looking quarter. When prompted by a mysterious note in his school locker, he tries making a wish on it, and, to his amazement, his mother is suddenly out of the hospital with no memory of the day before. Complications ensue as further wishes hook him up with classmate Jena but also ring in other, unexpected and increasingly disturbing changes. Horrified to learn at last that the coin is actually a mentally controlled part of a device for traveling among alternate realities, that each “quantum shift” he makes forcibly switches him with an analog of himself and that the rest of the device is in the hands of a casually violent version of (in his universe) his best friend Nathan, Ephraim sets out to make amends. Ephraim’s strategy of returning all of his displaced analogs to their original planes simply by retracing his travels doesn’t hold water (you can’t go home again when every change from quantum events up spawns a new reality), but by the end he’s earned the self-confidence to make fresh starts with both mother and girlfriend.

The frequent shifts make it hard to keep track of who’s where in this dizzying debut, but Ephraim’s ability to see past the temptations of power despite an active teen libido provides him with a sturdy moral base. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61614-609-2

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Pyr/Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded.

ANGEL THIEVES

A Texas bayou holds memories and secrets, weaving together people and animals through connected histories.

Buffalo Bayou takes her place as part of an ensemble cast that spans nearly two centuries. Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is a white boy who works alongside his father stealing angel statues from cemeteries for an antiques dealer, and Soleil Broussard is a 16-year-old Creole Christian with a tiny honey bear jar tattooed on her wrist. The two attend school together in present-day Houston, Texas, but the story intertwines their connection with stories of slaves and an ocelot in a narrative that runs away like the rushing of a river. Texas is a gorgeous backdrop for the story, eliciting haunting imagery that spotlights the natural beauty of the state. Each character helps piece together a quilt of experiences that stream from the omnipresent bayou who sees, hears, and protects, and the revelations of their overlapping connections are well-paced throughout. The novel is less successful, however, at underscoring why there are so many voices battling for space in the text. Too-short vignettes that are rather haphazardly forced together provide glimpses into the lives of the characters but make it difficult to follow all of the threads. While an author’s note offers historical background explaining the inspiration for the characters, it does not provide sufficient cohesion.

Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded. (author’s note) (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2109-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

New mysteries—Does the cure work? Why are teenagers exploding?—will keep Jessie's story going for at least one more volume.

BARGAINS AND BETRAYALS

From the 13 to Life series , Vol. 3

Volume three in the 13 to Life series begins in a mental asylum and ends with an unexpected burst of girl power.

Jessie's life is complicated: Her current boyfriend Pietr's a werewolf, her ex-boyfriend controls minds and her blood is a vital ingredient in the cure for lycanthropy. To top it all off, she's been thrown into a pseudo-Victorian mental institution of dubious legitimacy. The narrative, alternating between Jessie's point of view and that of Pietr’s human brother, leaves no point of drama unexploited. There are imprisoned mothers and battered girlfriends, Interpol and the Russian mob, drugged cafeteria food and zombie-golem-robot thugs. Jessie and her friends are determined to rescue Pietr’s mother from a shadowy organization that is probably not the CIA, but at what cost? It's not always clear what's going on, with prose so terse (one-to-two–sentence paragraphs are the norm) that vital information is often left unsaid. Still, all the players manage to come together for a final shootout that gives the girls an opportunity to get a small amount of their own vengeance—a brief moment of respite in the institutionalization, domestic violence, rape, medical experimentation and other constant violence against women that permeates Jessie's story.

New mysteries—Does the cure work? Why are teenagers exploding?—will keep Jessie's story going for at least one more volume. (Paranormal romance. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-60916-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more