Showalter has created a promising playground for future story installments.

READ REVIEW

ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND

From the White Rabbit Chronicles series , Vol. 1

Attack of the invisible zombies!

Alice Bell has never been an ordinary girl—she’s never been allowed outside after dark courtesy of her paranoid father and the monsters he sees everywhere. But after a terrible car accident kills Alice’s family, she begins to see the undead, too. Now living with her grandparents and starting a new school, Ali—she eschews her old name due to memories, grief and survivor’s guilt—can’t build a new life while being followed by her father’s demons. As if being chased by slobbering, decaying dead things wasn’t enough, Ali also navigates well-meaning if out-of-touch grandparents and the tension between her new social group and the rough crowd (more specifically, Ali’s interested in its leader, Cole Holland). The obligatory love triangle never threatens the main love story, but at least Ali’s friendships with other characters, especially her quirky new best friend Kat, are interesting. While using an Alice in Wonderland motif and established survival/horror video game staples (such as a gradually revealed journal written in code), Showalter creates an original zombie mythology and a completely new set of rules for the monsters to follow, as covered by the sometimes-clunky exposition. The climax is rushed, especially when compared to the pacing of the first act of the story, but action-packed.

Showalter has created a promising playground for future story installments. (playlist, author Q&A) (Horror/paranormal romance. 12-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-373-21058-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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