The novel starts with a bang in an interesting setting, but it quickly fizzles into melodrama.

VENGEANCE ROAD

Kate Thompson seeks revenge at any cost after her father is killed by a gang of robbers who believe he had information about a mythical gold mine.

Disguised as a boy, Kate quickly tracks a wounded gang member into town, where she interrogates him, confirms he is part of the notoriously vicious Rose Riders gang who now have her father’s gold mine maps, and summarily executes him. She then heads toward the nearby town of Wickenburg looking for Abe, the man her father always told her to find if he died. Though Abe turns out to have died years earlier, his sons were told to adopt any Thompson that ever arrives looking for him. Jesse and Will ask the still-disguised Kate to stay on their ranch, but she’s too focused on tracking the Rose Riders to take them up on their offer. Because they’re struggling financially, the brothers agree to accompany her in exchange for any gold that they discover. The journey immediately seems doomed due to Kate’s blinding rage, which luckily is no obstacle to love, as a predictable romance develops between Kate and Jesse, once he discovers she’s a girl. And the predictability continues as clichéd Wild West characters pop in and out of the story so frequently that even their deaths leave little emotional impact.

The novel starts with a bang in an interesting setting, but it quickly fizzles into melodrama. (Historical romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-46638-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

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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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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