Brynna’s guilt-induced psychosis makes for a page-turner in the spirit of Lois Duncan’s classic I Know What You Did Last...

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THE DARE

After the death of her best friend, a high school girl is haunted by something: Whether it’s conscience, ghost or merely human demons is unclear.

When Brynna’s best friend, Erica, drowns, Brynna—who dared Erica into the night swim that led to her death—becomes addicted to drugs and alcohol, culminating in a drunken driving arrest. Now in a new city and at a new school and seeing a court-appointed therapist, Brynna simply wants to skate through school unnoticed. Through no effort of her own, she’s immediately sucked into a clique of gregarious classmates, finding herself with friends and a boyfriend, hopeful despite herself, à la Bella Swan. But Brynna keeps seeing Erica on street corners, reliving the drowning in dreams and receiving text messages from her dead friend. Is she losing her mind? Is someone from her old town tormenting her? Or worse, is one of her new friends the source of this torture? So tightly wound is Brynna’s spiral into degenerating paranoia that the frankly ridiculous, scarcely foreshadowed reveal is barely a blip—her increasing terrors are believable and tension-racked. Her happy aftermath is less so, but nobody reads Cooney-style thrillers for the realistic resolution.

Brynna’s guilt-induced psychosis makes for a page-turner in the spirit of Lois Duncan’s classic I Know What You Did Last Summer; it will undoubtedly please the thriller-loving crowd . (Thriller. 13-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9457-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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