A compelling portrait of a young woman on the verge of adulthood, caught up in the domestic secrets of her parents and the...

DANCER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY

The disappearance of a star ballerina in Soviet Russia shatters the life of her daughter.

Bright, 17-year-old Marya is the daughter of the Bolshoi’s star ballerina and her scientist husband, and she’s a dancer herself. In the early 1980s Soviet Union, Svetlana Dukovskaya’s celebrity translates into a comfortable life for herself and her family. Indeed, she has been called a “cultural patriot of the Motherland,” and she expects Marya to follow her path. Her sudden disappearance throws Marya, and snatches of overheard conversation cause a sense of unease that is verified when Marya and her father learn Sveta has been institutionalized. Fleeing, Marya and her father settle in Brooklyn’s Little Odessa, where they attempt to get news about Sveta. Marya enrolls in high school and takes classes at Julliard and also begins a relationship with Ben, a son of Russian émigrés. Ben shares his love of music with her and becomes a source of strength, as her father and his newly arrived best friend seem caught up in intrigue. This is sophisticated storytelling with complex characterization and details that provide color and texture. The pacing is somewhat uneven, but there are enough twists to surprise and engage readers to the end.

A compelling portrait of a young woman on the verge of adulthood, caught up in the domestic secrets of her parents and the enmity of two countries. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61695-263-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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