A whirlwind narrative about an imaginative heroine that uses fantasy to offer salvation from abuse.

READ REVIEW

Riven

From the My Myth Trilogy series , Vol. 1

In this debut fantasy thriller, a teen’s real life begins to overlap with a colorful world she thinks she’s invented.

In Dallas, 17-year-old Emily Alvey watches Claire, her 10-year-old sister, have fun at a pool party. Yet Emily herself is preoccupied with the deep scratches on her arm, which she doesn't remember receiving. When she shoos a dragonfly away from her ankle, she accidentally kicks Gabe, a cute lifeguard, in the nose. They chat, but she neglects to describe her disastrous life: she must repeat the 11th grade; her father sits in jail; and her mother remains addicted to prescription meds. Later, after leaving a grocery store, Emily runs into Gabe again, only this time she suffers what seems like a panic attack. But the voices in Emily’s mind (a critical woman and a fanciful little girl) tell her that she’s awakening to a Magic that she hasn’t known since she was 7 years old. As a child, she began weaving a story about the First Realm, populated by the Fae—elves and maidens, both at war with the hideous crimbals. Gabe helps her realize that her father’s imminent release from prison coincides with the marks on her arm, which are actually ancient runes that not only spell her last name, but also translate it into “elf warrior.” In this emotionally charged novel, Harris uses traditional fantasy elements to tell a vibrant self-acceptance narrative. Though ostensibly for older teens, Emily’s adventures with her three siblings (Claire, 14-year-old Aidan, and 15-year-old Jacob) begin with rich imagery, and only become more kaleidoscopic when the heroine “can’t decipher between what is fantasy and what is real.” At its best, the prose conjures all the lushness promised by the genre, as when Emily sees “the sparkling honeysuckle air, the serene entanglement of polished stone and creeping wild strawberry.” At other times, however, the worldbuilding feels claustrophobic, and readers may wish for more clearly marked plot points to follow. In the end, after a sad, shocking revelation, Harris firms up her message that it’s vital to “experience your emotions and memories without judging them or reacting to them.”

A whirlwind narrative about an imaginative heroine that uses fantasy to offer salvation from abuse.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2016

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 494

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An atmospheric and creepy page-turner.

I KILLED ZOE SPANOS

Seventeen-year-old Anna Cicconi finds herself in the middle of a mystery when she takes a summer nanny job in the swanky Hamptons enclave of Herron Hills.

Frick begins her story at the end. Well, sort of. August in the Hamptons signals the turning of the leaves and sees the grisly discovery of 19-year-old Zoe Spanos’ body. Zoe disappeared on New Year’s Eve, and Anna, who happens to strongly resemble her, has confessed to her murder. However, Martina Green, who runs the podcast Missing Zoe, doesn’t believe Anna did it and attempts to find out what really happened. Flash back to June: Hard-partying recent high school grad Anna sees her new job caring for Tom and Emilia Bellamy’s 8-year-old daughter as a fresh start. As one sun-drenched day melts into the next, Anna is drawn to Windemere, the neighboring Talbots’ looming, Gothic-style home, and to the brooding, mysterious Caden Talbot. But Anna can’t shake a feeling of déjà vu, and she’s having impossible memories that intertwine her life with Zoe’s. Frick easily juggles multiple narratives, and readers will enjoy connecting the dots of her cleverly plotted thriller inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca. Anna and Zoe are white; the supporting cast includes biracial characters Martina (Latinx/white) and Caden (black/white). Caden discusses grappling with being raised by white adoptive parents, facing racialized suspicion as Zoe’s boyfriend, and feeling marginalized at Yale.

An atmospheric and creepy page-turner. (map) (Thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4970-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more