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An irresistible elixir of romance and suspense.

In this Western mythology–inspired romance, a teen with a disdain for magic and an immortal familiar join forces to uncover the truth behind the relentless winter that devastates the region.

Before endless winter destroyed their family’s farm, 17-year-old Ellery Evans never questioned their parents’ devotion to the supernatural, but after five years of unanswered prayers, Ellery lets go of their faith and moves in with Charley, their cousin who lives in the city, seeking a steady paycheck as a real solution to their family’s problems. One night after work at the diner, they bump into Knox, the “hot weird guy” who never wears a coat when he picks up his takeout order. Danger follows in Knox’s shadow. During his last five years in the human realm, his goddess has mysteriously ignored all his attempts to contact her. Now, he’s hunted by her shades, who may be plotting against her. To stay in the human realm, Knox needs a contract with a human, or he’ll be powerless to fight the shades. At first, Ellery teams up with Knox reluctantly, but a complicated attraction soon stirs between them. Amid looming, supernatural threats, Ellery confronts their insecurities over trusting others with the support of found family who challenge them to grow and affirm their self-worth. Both Ellery and Knox are cued white; Lukens’ characters reflect racial diversity in the world around the leads.

An irresistible elixir of romance and suspense. (Supernatural romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781665916257

Page Count: 352

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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