Teens will find it easy to relate to this drama that touches on the supernatural but is grounded in sisterly love and common...

THE SISTERHOOD

Sixteen-year-old Lil has been sad and anxious since her sister, Mella, inexplicably went missing over four months earlier.

Although sometimes resentful of her sister’s colorful character and unpredictable behavior, Lil misses her terribly. Events take a strange turn when Lil rescues a young teen, apparently the victim of a mysterious accident, who is eventually able to provide clues as to Mella’s whereabouts. Set against the backdrop of the wet and wild Welsh countryside, the story is punctuated with chapters about gatherings of the Sisterhood of the Light led by the charismatic but evil Moon whose mission it is to bring down-and-out girls in from the Dark and induct them into the sinister Light-worshipping Sisterhood. With the help of her loyal boyfriend, Kiran, and her policewoman aunt, Sabrina, Lil continues to search for Mella, haunted by imaginary conversations with her, survivor’s guilt, and flashbacks to the good and bad times they had together. Lil’s reflections on Mella and her anxiety and insecurity are relevant to modern teen issues, and Lil experiences the flood and fire of a traumatic separation. The relationship between the sisters is well-drawn. Most major characters are assumed white, and Kiran is biracial, with a white Welsh mother and British-Indian father.

Teens will find it easy to relate to this drama that touches on the supernatural but is grounded in sisterly love and common sense. (Thriller. 14-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2906-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Only for readers who are really good at suspending disbelief.

H2O

Grab an umbrella: The latest fictional civilization-ending threat is deadly rain.

Ruby’s having the best night of her life, drunkenly making out with her crush in a hot tub at a party. Suddenly, the host’s parents arrive and, panicking, drag everyone indoors. The radio broadcasts an emergency message about fatal rain. Space bacteria have entered the atmosphere on an asteroid, replicated in the clouds’ moisture and now rain death upon humanity. Just humanity, though—inexplicably, this bacteria’s apparently harmless to plants and other animals. After struggling to live through the first few days—finding uncontaminated water sources is a particular challenge—Ruby decides to travel across the country to find her father. The situation’s horrifying, but what gives the deaths resonance is how sad they are, rather than simply scary (although they are plenty gory). Ruby’s narration is unsophisticated and, especially in the beginning, self-conscious, keeping readers from immersing themselves in the story, much as the strange butterfly graphic that censors curse words does. Additionally, Ruby’s progressively vapid characterization makes her hard to root for. Her biggest redeeming trait’s her love of animals. The novel also has the usual post-apocalyptic tropes—nerdy companion, military of dubious trustworthiness, human threats, a young child to take care of and so forth. The ending is immensely unsatisfying.

Only for readers who are really good at suspending disbelief. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4926-0654-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Breezy, silly, unremarkable fun.

THE LIFE BELOW

From the Final Six series , Vol. 2

This sequel to The Final Six (2018) raises the stakes for its spacefaring teen astronauts.

Naomi Ardalan and the other Final Six are on their journey to colonize Jupiter’s moon Europa, leading the way for humans to eventually leave a dying Earth. Naomi is the only one in the group who knows that the leaders of the International Space Training Camp are keeping the truth from them, and it is down to her to discover whether there is alien life on Europa before they land. Back on Earth, and unbeknownst to the crew, left-behind recruit Leo Danieli works with genius doctor Greta Wagner to launch a solo mission to intercept and join Naomi’s ship in order to bring them news that not only is there definitely life on Europa, but they are set to land in its most dangerous zone. As the two missions and alternating narratives converge, the unthinkable happens—and everything changes. Fast-paced and plot-driven, the novel decidedly veers into science fiction horror territory with plenty of scares that readers willing to suspend disbelief and embrace the teenagers-in-space setup are likely to enjoy. The syrupy romance between Leo and Naomi continues, and a new layer is added to the story with a frustratingly too-brief examination of colonization and first contact. Naomi is Iranian American, Leo is Italian, and the human cast is international.

Breezy, silly, unremarkable fun. (Science fiction horror. 14-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-265897-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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