As rich as quality 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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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.


A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.


This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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