A glitzy bloodbath with the most ironic title ever.


Celebrities, romance, and carnage on the high seas.

It’s pretty skeevy for a meet-cute, but when 17-year-old Laurel vomits on 19-year-old Tom’s shoes, it’s destiny—and foreshadows flavors to come. Laurel’s on this luxury weight-loss cruise to keep a friend company; Tom’s there as a television host, trying to wrangle his child-star career into something more serious. The ritzy cruise is sponsored by Solu, a sugar substitute and weight-loss catalyst that’s supposedly a “solu”-tion for fatness. Tom declines Solu because of his strict “clean eating” diet; Laurel declines from seasickness and wariness. At first, Solu’s effects are merely preposterous, causing a 13-pound weight loss in two days. But soon passengers become walking, tooth-dropping cadavers, so addicted—think heroin times meth times vampires—that they’re rioting and committing frenzied murder to drink one another’s Solu-filled blood. With former competitors from Survivor and The Bachelorette aboard, the who-will-survive plot works well, fast-paced yet farcically cheesy. (Tom can identify someone’s “schizoid break” because “I did a guest star on Criminal Minds”; then again, according to Laurel, he’s “so frickin’ manly.”) Tom and Laurel alternate narrating, their first-person voices indistinguishable. The wealthy passengers’ superior obliviousness seeps into the text, as when Laybourne calls the multiracial ship crew “a walking United Nations” and a black girl “strong and angry.”

A glitzy bloodbath with the most ironic title ever. (Horror. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05519-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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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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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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