Offers quality moments despite some weak links in the narrative chain.

THIS COVEN WON'T BREAK

From the These Witches Don't Burn series , Vol. 2

All witches are now in danger in this magic-laced action/mystery sequel.

Hannah, from These Witches Don’t Burn (2019), is starting her senior year of high school, but that’s not what’s foremost on her mind. Instead, she’s concerned with the Witch Hunters who are attacking more frequently with a refined version of their “cure” that robs witches of their magic. After exposure to an earlier version of the drug, Hannah’s having trouble accessing her Elemental magic and wants to be part of the collective covens’ retaliation. She’s also committed to seeing her dad’s murderers brought to justice. When the witch Elders ask Hannah to recruit some key players to their counterattack plans, she’s all in even though the first recruit recently tried to kill her. Internally, Hannah is still dealing with grief and trauma as well. Thankfully, she can talk openly about her troubles with Gemma, her now-in-the-know nonmagical best friend. She also finds comfort with her girlfriend, Morgan, a Blood Witch whose abilities give Hannah’s stoppered powers some relief. Despite sweet, heartfelt romance and some emotionally genuine scenes for Hannah, the sensational roller coaster of a plot leaves these moments feeling disjointed rather than a natural part of the overall story. Apart from the white main characters, there are a few secondary characters of color; a trans secondary character; and a married, pregnant lesbian couple who are role models for Hannah.

Offers quality moments despite some weak links in the narrative chain. (Paranormal. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-451-48035-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.

THE FEAR

This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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This fresh reworking of a Greek myth will resonate.

NEVER LOOK BACK

An otherworldly Latinx retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth set in the South Bronx.

Pheus visits his father in the Bronx every summer. The Afro-Dominican teen is known for his mesmerizing bachata music, love of history, and smooth way with the ladies. Eury, a young Puerto Rican woman and Hurricane Maria survivor, is staying with her cousin for the summer because of a recent, unspecified traumatic event. Her family doesn’t know that she’s been plagued since childhood by the demonlike Ato. Pheus and Eury bond over music and quickly fall in love. Attacked at a dance club by Sileno, its salacious and satyrlike owner, Eury falls into a coma and is taken to el Inframundo by Ato. Pheus, despite his atheism, follows the advice of his father and a local bruja to journey to find his love in the Underworld. Rivera skillfully captures the sounds and feels of the Bronx—its unique, diverse culture and the creeping gentrification of its neighborhoods. Through an amalgamation of Greek, Roman, and Taíno mythology and religious beliefs, gaslighting, the colonization of Puerto Rico, Afro-Latinidad identity, and female empowerment are woven into the narrative. While the pacing lags in the middle, secondary characters aren’t fully developed, and the couple’s relationship borders on instalove, the rush of a summertime romance feels realistic. Rivera’s complex world is well realized, and the dialogue rings true. All protagonists are Latinx.

This fresh reworking of a Greek myth will resonate. (Fabulism. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0373-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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