Goodlett's debut is a refreshing break from fantasy novels in which the plot hinges on a seemingly inevitable heterosexual...

RULE

From the Rule series , Vol. 1

Set in a fantastical world in which almost all humans have the power to harness extraordinary physical prowess by tithing their blood (referred to as the Blood Arts), Rule traces the adventures of three sisters in their quest for the crown.

The three young women could not be more different: Zofi is a Traveler; not only is her tribe of wandering nomads shunned by mainstream society, but Zofi is on the run from the King’s guards. Florencia, or Ren, is a lady’s maid at the Keep, catering to the whims and fancies of noblewomen. Akeylah, from the Eastern Reach, suffers under the tyranny of her abusive adoptive father and is unsure whether she will survive from one day to the next. United by their paternity, the girls are invited by their father, King Andros, to compete for the crown. Yet each girl’s claim to the throne is complicated by a secret she harbors: Each has committed an act of treason against the royal family. The fast-paced plot makes for an engaging read; however, the underdeveloped side characters weaken the story. Readers may be troubled by the equation of cutting and/or pain with a marked increase in power. Limited physical descriptions other than hair color make ethnicity difficult to determine.

Goodlett's debut is a refreshing break from fantasy novels in which the plot hinges on a seemingly inevitable heterosexual romance. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51528-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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