Tense and engaging—well worth the effort of suspending one’s disbelief.

NEARLY GONE

In a suspenseful high school whodunit, AP chemistry student Nearly “Leigh” Boswell investigates a series of murders for which someone is trying to frame her.

Every week, Leigh (which she really prefers to her given name, Nearly) combs the missed-connections ads in her local paper, hoping for word from the father who disappeared years ago. On the day her chemistry teacher lectures the class about Schrödinger’s cat, Leigh spots an eerie outlier among the messages: “Newton was wrong....Find me tonight under the bleachers.” After a math tutee’s brutal attack, a scrawled warning in Leigh’s desk, and a dead cat delivered to Leigh’s doorstep, complete with Schrödinger reference, a second science-themed personal ad convinces Leigh that something nefarious is afoot. With regard to believability, the science-class conceits are as tricky to swallow as the idea that a teenager in 2014 browses print personals. But the point here isn’t realism—it’s puzzles. Cryptic missed-connections clues, a sequence of numbers left on the victims’ bodies, and of course, the identity and motive of the murderer leave plenty for readers to contemplate as Leigh rushes to crime scenes and runs from the police. The story’s single supernatural element—when Leigh touches people, she experiences their emotions—is woven deftly into the story, and the romance plot is compelling.

Tense and engaging—well worth the effort of suspending one’s disbelief. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3926-0

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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