Combining fandom and murder, a pleasant diversion designed for digital natives.

COPYCAT

A murder-mystery superfan’s life turns into something ripped from the pages of her favorite genre.

Shy, wealthy, red-haired Addison “Addie” Gaines runs a well-trafficked blog devoted to her favorite series, the Gap Lake mysteries. Shortly after she gets an email purporting to be from the reclusive, mysterious author, R.J. Rosen, inviting her to join the publicity campaign for his next book by posting teaser passages online, she stumbles upon a dead classmate in a scene that is all too familiar. Addie struggles to get anyone, including her best friend, a Latina girl named Maya Garcia, to take her book-related theories seriously, since they rely so heavily on coincidences. But as the connections to Gap Lake keep piling up, Addie and others around her find themselves in real danger. Possible suspects include Rosen—if it even is him sending the messages—as well as the dead girl’s handsome olive-skinned ex-boyfriend (also the subject of Addie’s crush) and even Addie herself (under scrutiny for her interest in the macabre and some darkness in her family’s past). Sensory details and the emotions they evoke are highlighted to conceal some patchiness in the plotting. Addie and Maya feel authentic; their charming interpersonal dynamic and the escalating pace of the plot result in a quick read. The ending, especially the denouement, is abrupt and underwhelming.

Combining fandom and murder, a pleasant diversion designed for digital natives. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4739-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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