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THE DIABLO'S CURSE

A tumultuous and romantic adventure.

A demonio grasping for humanity and a human boy with a family curse embark on a hunt for a treasure that will set them free.

According to the terms of their bargain with el Diablo, Dami should be human, but their revelry comes to an end when food they should be able to taste turns to ashes in their mouth. El Diablo didn’t tell Dami that if they failed to close all their open deals with mortals within a year, they’d revert to being a demonio forever. Silas Cain, who’s cued white, carries the burden of a generational curse that would have killed him if he hadn’t made a deal with Dami, but now he’s stuck in a torturous loop of life and death. When Dami offers to set him free from their soul-binding contract, Silas strikes a new bargain that Dami has no choice but to accept—Silas will end their contract, but only if Dami helps him break the curse and save his younger sister from inheriting tragedy. This book, set in the world of The Wicked Bargain (2023), follows Dami to the New England coast through well-paced shifts in point of view and revealing flashbacks. High stakes and an enemies-to-lovers romance combine to create a satisfyingly suspenseful story. Dami and Silas share the narration with Marisol, a clever and endearing transgender girl whose adventure intertwines with theirs. Dami and Marisol are Mexican, and some of their conversations include Spanish.

A tumultuous and romantic adventure. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780593378052

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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