A riveting fantasy sequel that skillfully expands the boundaries of its predecessor.

FEVER DREAMS AND THE END OF ALL THINGS

In this second installment of a YA fantasy series, a new evil emerges in a magical realm, and three visiting teens must once again embrace their heroic roles.

In two weeks, Ben Young will be graduating from South Point Middle School. He and his best friend, Marcus Cooper, plan to become “cool” over the summer before starting at Trinity High. Ben worries that his girlfriend, Avery Hopewell, can’t possibly like him in the waking world after seeing his bravery in Meridia, the magical realm that the teens visit in their sleep. Later, at the school year’s final dance, Avery and Ben enjoy themselves—until the fire alarm sounds. During the panic, Ben faints. He wakes up in Meridia with Avery and Marcus in a boat rowed by their elf friend, Tamerlane. Also present is Wolf, one of the flying dogs called dragonwoofs native to the realm. The group is soon captured by the Red Army, now commanded by Marissa, who, like Ben and his friends, is a weed—someone transported to Meridia from the waking world. Though Marissa has taken over for the sinister, deceased Sovereign, a worse threat imperils the land. The Ghastly Three, led by the Supreme, want to assemble five artifacts into the World Builder and remake Meridia in their horrid image. For this engaging sequel, Massey once more carefully balances true adolescent drama with high-stakes fantasy. After Marcus succeeds in fending off school bullies—and is accused of being one himself—his parents decide to send him to a “behavioral fitness camp.” Meanwhile, Avery, who lives in a group home, is adopted by a family living in faraway Oregon. Perhaps saddest of all are Marissa’s real-life travails, which involve a home shattered by mental illness. Ben’s potential as a rare mage who can wield opposing elements (like fire and ice) simultaneously carries the gripping narrative into familiar chosen one terrain. Despite beautiful moments, as when “a soft white light seemed to emanate from the base of the glass trees, illuminating the entire forest,” this is a dour series entry. An eerie cliffhanger primes fans for the next volume.

A riveting fantasy sequel that skillfully expands the boundaries of its predecessor.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 9798525339774

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2021

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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