Lord of the Flies this ain't, but it is a pretty decent adventure story, and readers will eagerly await the second volume

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MONUMENT 14

From the Monument 14 series , Vol. 1

A staggering natural disaster maroons a handful of teens and younger children in a suburban Colorado big-box department store.

An ordinary morning school-bus ride almost instantly goes wrong when a sudden, bizarre hailstorm wrecks Dean's bus to the high school and sends the elementary/middle school bus through the wall of a nearby Greenway. Heroically, driver Mrs. Wooly goes back to rescue the surviving high school kids and then ventures back out into the chaos for help. While the kids wait—and it will surprise no one when Mrs. Wooly fails to return—they sort out power relationships and monitor events on the outside as best they can. As the days go by, these relationships shift; not surprisingly, some kids are better at survival than others. The introduction of a couple of adults into their self-contained universe threatens the delicate balance. The storytelling takes some shortcuts. The near-future setting seems to derive mostly from the narrative necessity of keeping the lights on (solar arrays on the roof power the store); a chemical-agent cocktail that escapes NORAD conveniently manifests dramatically different symptoms depending on victims' blood types. But characterization is strong—the children emerge as fully as the teens—and narrator Dean keeps the pages turning. And there's no beating the ingenuity of the Greenway setting, where apparently everything these kids need is at their fingertips.

Lord of the Flies this ain't, but it is a pretty decent adventure story, and readers will eagerly await the second volume . (Adventure. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-56903-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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