An effective two-for-one romance.

WORDS COMPOSED OF SEA AND SKY

Two young women in different centuries balance creativity and love.

Michaela Dunn hopes to attend Winslow College of Fine Arts, the same institution as her late father, an English professor who died when she was very young. A poetry workshop weekend at the college may be the foot in the door Michaela needs. When her stepfather balks at the workshop’s exorbitant enrollment fee, Michaela pins her hopes on winning a local poetry competition hosted by Winslow, one revolving around the town’s fabled whaler-poet Capt. Benjamin Churchill. In researching the captain’s life, Michaela discovers the journal of Leta Townsend, his would-be lover. The novel toggles between Leta in 1862 and Michaela in the present day as they balance their artistic ambitions against engaging love triangles. That’s right, there are two plucky heroines and four handsome hunks in this sweeping romance—and the author successfully juggles them all. The narrative effectively balances big, swoonworthy moments against smart character work, giving characters just enough shading and fleshing out the nooks and crannies of the sleepy Massachusetts town. The dual narratives bounce off each other well, handing off storylines at just the right moment to create suspense, warmth, and romantic pangs. Michaela, Leta, and their romantic suitors are all presumed White.

An effective two-for-one romance. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6820-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Running Press Teens

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more