A spectacular prose start for DC Comics' spectacular lady.

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FALLOUT

From the Lois Lane series , Vol. 1

A teen reporter busts a cyberbullying ring at her new school in Metropolis. 

Lois Lane is new in town, and she's doing her best to keep her head down and her nose clean. Her Army general father is hoping to make their family's stay in Metropolis permanent, and Lois doesn't want to jeopardize that. She joins the Daily Scoop, a teen subsidiary of the Daily Planet, in an effort to make friends. Of course, trouble always has a way of finding Lois Lane. This first entry in a planned series gets plenty right. Lois is as fully rounded as she is in the comics, headstrong, smart, capable, and equipped with a solid moral compass. Bond (Girl on a Wire, 2014, etc.) provides her with plenty of interesting supporting characters to bounce off, establishing a world worthy of a series. Bond also resists the fan-service urge: there's no mention of Gotham, the Waynes, Lex Luthor, Central City, or any other landmark DC icon. The one big connection Bond makes is a playful one: Lois' online pal goes by the name "SmallvilleGuy," and few readers will not put the pieces together quickly regarding his true identity. Bond plays with their knowledge though, effectively turning this eye-roll–worthy quirk into a knowing smile, similar to the one Supes gives to viewers at the end of many a comic book and film. This lighthearted and playful tone permeates the novel, making for a nifty investigative mystery akin to Veronica Mars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Readers are in for a treat.

A spectacular prose start for DC Comics' spectacular lady. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63079-005-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Switch/Capstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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