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An exciting and compulsively readable work about a teen’s empowerment.

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Furlong offers a YA novel that tells the story of a teenage renegade vampire hunter.

The quiet, tree-lined streets of Richmond, Virginia, are a long way from the nonstop excitement of New York City, but as new arrival Stacy Goldman discovers, they’re no less dangerous. She’s accustomed to bullying at school, due to her diminutive, 5-foot stature,and she’s haunted by recent memories of 9/11, the catalyst for her family’s relocation. However, the girl, a chess prodigy, soon discovers that the things that make her distinctive can also be useful for survival. When she impulsively follows a handsome young man from a diner, hoping to get his name, she witnesses a horrific act of violence by what appears to be a vampire. She’s soon drawn into a mystery that stretches back more than a century. Accompanied by her new friends, Finder and Tully—two teens who are well versed in the city’s supernatural secrets—Stacy discovers an otherworldly community that calls Richmond home. Some of the creatures in it are benevolent, but many are bent on destruction and serve a terrifying master informally known as the Man with No Face. Amid the melee of this supernatural city, Stacy also uncovers a group of mortals who, unbeknownst to them, are playing a dangerous game with demonic forces. Soon, Stacy must use her strategizing skills to play a game with very high stakes, indeed. Furlong expertly blends a coming-of-age tale with supernatural elements and plenty of spooky chills and mysteries to keep readers guessing. Stacy is a realistic and appealing protagonist, and readers will become invested as she uses her keen abilities and rescues her equally lovable pals using wit and wisdom that’s well beyond her years. As this is the first book in a series, Furlong does an excellent job of establishing the team as well as developing a frightening atmosphere around the elusive Man with No Face.

An exciting and compulsively readable work about a teen’s empowerment.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73698-913-5

Page Count: 434

Publisher: Masterful Person Company

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2021

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From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2014

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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