A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays.

DREAMERS OFTEN LIE

After sustaining a head injury, a girl is plagued by hallucinations of Shakespeare’s players and soon becomes embroiled in familiar plots.

Upon awakening in the hospital after a traumatic skiing accident, all Jaye can think about is missing rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Finally, she’s been cast as a lead, and her estranged friend, Pierce, was to be the Oberon to her Titania. But Jaye’s injury has other plans. Her head swirls with familiar characters from Shakespeare’s works: Romeo finds her in the snow; Hamlet greets her in a dark theater; and even the Bard himself makes appearances. While Jaye struggles to separate hallucinations from reality, memories of her father, whose absence haunts her, cause fissures between her and her family. Pierce pronounces his newfound affection for her and suddenly shows up around every corner—and Jaye’s not sure if she likes it. To top it off, the new boy in her anatomy class happens to look just like her imaginary Romeo. Though the inspiration of the story will be immediately familiar to most readers, Jaye’s personal drama still sets an engrossing stage; her fantasy players add dark elements to an otherwise overdone plot. Reckoning with the death of her father brings an emotional release more potent than forbidden romance.

A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3863-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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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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