Tense, philosophical, and enthralling.

LIFEBLOOD

From the Everlife series , Vol. 2

Tenley’s joined Troika, but Myriad’s not out of tricks, and the war between the afterlives is far from over.

After Firstlife (2016), Tenley (fair-skinned, with vague “Native American” heritage) is dead at Myriad’s hands, but the battle rages as she wakes to her Troikan Everlife. This puts Irish-accented, bronze-skinned Killian in the awkward position of defending himself by killing attacking Troikans while protecting Tenley by killing his fellows in Myriad. By the time the Troikans get Tenley to safety in their realm, the casualty count is high enough that she doesn’t receive the warmest of receptions—people are concerned she’s more loyal to Killian than to her own people. Tenley hardly has enough time to grieve her losses before Gen. Levi sends her through her paces, as they need to get her to her full potential as a light-generating Conduit as quickly as possible. Myriad has managed to infect a human, biracial black/white Dior, with Penumbra, an almost mythical plague said to create an Abrogate (the Myriad equivalent of Conduit)—and only Tenley can help Dior. Despite Tenley’s thoughtfully expository narration, readers who skipped the first title are likely to be hopelessly lost. Returning readers will find that the chessboard-strategy maneuvers and star-crossed romance are satisfyingly bolstered by themes of forgiveness and personal responsibility.

Tense, philosophical, and enthralling. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-373-21219-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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