If the pacing is too leisurely for suspense, sheer inventiveness should keep readers turning pages in this debut for teens...

SHIFT

The intriguing plot points and themes on offer here could easily power several novels; frustratingly, none is fully developed.

Olive Corbett, the mentally fragile, unreliable narrator, dresses bizarrely and mutters to herself. A social outcast at her Australian high school, she takes refuge in the music of an indie band, Luxe, to drown out feelings of guilt for her father’s departure and her brother’s nightmares. The arrival of new student Miranda Vaile, rumored to have killed her parents, is a welcome distraction. Lackluster Miranda is inexplicably taken up by Olive’s former best friend and A-list queen bee, Katie, whom Miranda dominates, then eclipses. Meanwhile, despite her issues, Olive’s pursued by hunky Lachlan Ford, who ignores behavior that would give most boys pause. Following a plot twist that won’t surprise alert readers, the school setting all but disappears as Miranda pursues an obsessive friendship with Olive. The untidy plot leaves a plethora of loose ends. Did Olive take refuge in mental illness to escape her popular-girl persona and make a fresh start? Why does Miranda choose Olive? Is Miranda a parasitical shapeshifter? (The prospect of celebrity shapeshifters who use their status to stoke jealousy and draw power from sycophantic, wannabe victims presents rich possibilities that remain largely unexplored.)

If the pacing is too leisurely for suspense, sheer inventiveness should keep readers turning pages in this debut for teens that serves up half a delicious meal. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-358-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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