A deftly written examination of familial relationships, trauma, and post-adolescence.

THE SECOND LIFE OF AVA RIVERS

A teen girl’s life is turned upside down when her missing twin reappears after 12 years.

Ava Rivers, the blonde fraternal twin of auburn-haired Vera, went missing one Halloween night, fracturing her otherwise harmonious family. After Ava’s disappearance, the girls’ brother, Elliott, spends his days living a drug-fueled and rather aimless life; their father quits his job and moves into the family basement, chain-smoking and scouring the Internet for leads about Ava; and their perfectly polished mother crams her days full of high-profile philanthropic events. Wonderfully snarky-voiced Vera is counting the days until she can move from her stifling home in laid-back Berkeley to attend college in Portland, Oregon. However, when Ava suddenly comes back, the Rivers’ lives are seemingly put on hold. Ava’s return brings about many changes for Vera—she defers college; rekindles a relationship with Max, Ava’s African-American childhood best friend; and eventually pulls her family back together—but she struggles to familiarize herself with a person who is both a stranger and an intrinsic part of herself. An unconventional take on the well-trod subject of kidnapping, Gardner’s (Perdita, 2015, etc.) clever offering features a surprising twist and should leave readers ruminating over what truly defines family. Vera is bisexual (as is her male love interest), and she and her sister are multiracial (white father, half Iranian/half Mexican mother).

A deftly written examination of familial relationships, trauma, and post-adolescence. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47830-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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