The Sixth Sense meets The Da Vinci Code for teen readers

READ REVIEW

SIGNS OF YOU

Sixteen-year-old Riley Strout and her three best friends are bound together by loss.

Riley’s mother died two years ago. Jay lost his father. Kate lost the aunt who was more like a mother. And Noah’s twin brother hanged himself in the basement. Thrown together in an after-school grief-counseling program in their mostly white Ohio suburb, the foursome shares a bond so deep they are more family than friends. Yet none of them could have possibly imagined the strange happenings that would force them to come face to face with their grief. Twenty-four hours after trying on an ancient cross discovered by Jay’s father before his death, Riley sees her mother in the grocery store. It’s not long before both Jay and Kate confess to seeing their deceased loved ones, too. And then, in an attempt to explain the phenomenon tormenting his friends, Noah suddenly disappears. What follows is Riley’s firsthand account of the friends’ desperate attempt to find Noah and to uncover the truth behind their visions. Kudos to France for creating distinct and compelling characters that will keep readers invested in her debut. Though the plot could have withstood a little tightening to heighten suspense and intensify the experience for readers, this is an entertaining mystery cleverly rooted in religious lore.

The Sixth Sense meets The Da Vinci Code for teen readers . (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61695-657-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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