A not-bad-at-all entry into the teen market for this adult author. (Mystery. 12 & up)

SHELTER

From the Mickey Bolitar series , Vol. 1

Being the new kid at his high school is the least of Mickey Bolitar's worries; how about a missing girlfriend and dad's possible rising from the dead?

Walking to school one morning, Mickey is accosted by an eerie old lady (whom he dubs Bat Lady) who dramatically declares that his father is alive, despite the fact that Mickey saw his dad die in a car accident. Bat Lady is only on a back burner of Mickey's lively mind; in the forefront is finding out what happened to new girlfriend Ashley Kent, who stopped coming to school one day. Attempts to learn more have been stonewalled by teachers and the administration. Mickey teams up with two unlikely sidekicks: Ema, a sarcastic overweight goth girl whom Mickey rescued from humiliation in gym class, and Spoon, a hacker nerd who knows all about Mickey's mad basketball skilz (which he's keeping under wraps). Many daredevil acts ensue. This teen spinoff of the prolific Coben's adult Myron Bolitar (Mickey's uncle) series (Long Lost, 2009, etc.) benefits greatly from his trademark crackerjack pace and multi-layered plotting. Most of the time, Mickey's short-attention-span snark seems both age appropriate and believable. His mother's struggle with drug addiction adds poignancy.

A not-bad-at-all entry into the teen market for this adult author. (Mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-0399256509

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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A resounding success.

CONCRETE ROSE

This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017).

The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones–esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn’t contain dragons or sorcerers, but it’s nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav’s a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father’s federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are “li’l homies,” lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys’ very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, “I ain’t as hard as my pops, ain’t as street as my pops,” but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav’s parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black.

A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284671-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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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