Dark and mesmerizing.

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PAN'S LABYRINTH

THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN

A young girl is swept into the dangerous world of fairies and magic in war-torn Spain in a collaborative tale inspired by the noted film.

With the death of her father, her mother’s marriage to a stoic military captain, and the imminent arrival of a baby brother, 13-year-old Ofelia’s world has been turned upside down. But once upturned, Ofelia discovers a world beneath her own that seems straight out of her favorite fairy tales—an Underground Kingdom with magic, fairies, and a faun whose princess has been missing for centuries. The faun explains that Ofelia is their princess reincarnated, but to return to her throne, she must complete three tasks before the next full moon. But as her mother’s health rapidly declines and the captain’s cruelty spreads like a deadly fume, a giant toad and grotesque child eater aren’t the only monsters Ofelia must face. Charged with the monumental task of adapting an intricate film to the page, del Toro (The Shape of Water, 2018, etc.) and Funke (The Griffin’s Feather, 2018, etc.) have avoided merely describing the film and instead have elegantly recrafted the narrative. Brief, interspersed tales that stitch together several characters’ backstories deepen and add greater complexity to the plot while also shrinking the original story’s ambiguous gap between fantasy and reality. Spot art based on the film’s concept art accompanies each of the tales, helping to both offset and connect them.

Dark and mesmerizing. (Dark fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-241446-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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