Despite the book's flaws, teens will likely find enough to keep them turning the pages, particularly when it comes to...

AS I WAKE

Seventeen-year-old Ava Hanson awakens in a bed, in a room, in a home she can’t remember.

While she recognizes the names and faces of the people in her life, Ava can’t shake the feeling that everyone, including herself, isn’t who they seem. Despite being warned not to pursue them, flashes of another life in another world fuel Ava’s desperation to fill the gaps in her memory. The question is, what and who will it cost her? Her visions reveal a sinister dystopia, where Ava’s only hope to escape the chains of her orphaned past is to be a “listener” for a government that demands conformity and subordination at all costs. The stakes are raised considerably with the appearance of Morgan, a young man who doesn’t belong in Ava’s new world, though her heart recognizes him immediately. Scott (Between Here and Forever, 2011, etc.) lays the groundwork for an interesting twist on the “Who am I?” novel, but Ava’s first-person narration, littered with broken thoughts, is often problematic. Its staccato, stop-and-start rhythm is distracting, pulling readers out of the story. This is a shame, as the worlds the author describes—Ava’s new, normal one, much like ours, and the dystopic one of her memories—make for a fascinating set up.

Despite the book's flaws, teens will likely find enough to keep them turning the pages, particularly when it comes to Morgan’s desperation to convince Ava that love is the only thing one needs know for certain. (Thriller. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-42209-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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