As rich as quality chocolate.

IN THE AGE OF LOVE AND CHOCOLATE

From the Birthright series , Vol. 3

Anya Balanchine comes into her own in business and in matters of the heart while circumventing the chocolate prohibition with her medicinal cacao nightclub in the multiple-year–spanning conclusion to the Birthright trilogy.

While her professional life is coming together as she and former enemy Charles Delacroix prepare for the grand opening of their cacao nightclub, the Dark Room, Anya’s personal relationships suffer. Win Delacroix can’t forgive her for working with his father, and he leaves New York to attend college away from Anya. Anya tries to do right by her sister, Natty, who’s going through a rough patch. Her cousin Mickey returns, looking for his missing wife, treacherous Sophia Bitter. And Anya’s mafiya Family actively disapproves of her attempts at legitimacy. A near-disaster on the eve of opening brings Anya’s cacao-supplying friend Theo from Mexico to the city, where he decides to stay on to help. There is less mob intrigue than in previous installments, as the primary focus is Anya’s coming-of-age. Her self-aware narrative, full of asides, foreshadows heavily, neutering some of the tension. Multiple suitors court Anya, and her responses demonstrate how she grapples with discovering what and who she wants in this most romance-focused book in the series. The sweet ending is tempered by Anya’s prickly personality, which stays true through all of her growth.

As rich as quality chocolate. (Thriller. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-38075-5

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013

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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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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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