Engaging, if not essential.

GHOSTING

Eight teens’ fates intertwine and recombine in the aftermath of a prank gone very wrong.

The constellation of characters is best imagined as a nucleus of two—the beautiful, domineering and troubled athletic couple Brendan and Emma—surrounded by an outer ring of friends, then two farther-off characters. The outer ring comprises sad stoner Felix and camera-toting Maxie, back in Illinois after four years in Colorado, along with golden girl Chloe and her earnest boyfriend, Anil. It is then connected more loosely to Emma’s thoughtful younger sister, Faith, and Walter, whose isolation and tenuous grasp on reality plays a pivotal role. After an unsatisfying, awkward stop at an alcohol-soaked end-of-summer bash, Chloe suggests a visit to the local “ghost house,” a seemingly abandoned property on the edge of the local cemetery. Chloe and Emma creep up on the porch, knocking over rose bushes as they go. The girls’ act of trespassing combines with Brendan’s drunkenness and bravado to set off a chain reaction that leads to multiple shootings and other serious injuries, which in turn lead to varying degrees of recovery and, ultimately, reflection. A novel in verse with a large cast of rather two-dimensional characters facing the consequences of their actions is nothing new, but Pattou keeps the pacing brisk enough to make this a decent page-turner.

Engaging, if not essential. (Verse/fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4774-9

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Skyscape

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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