Sawyer’s smart narrative, along with plenty of biting social commentary, will keep readers turning the pages. (Fiction....

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LITTLE WHITE LIES

From the Debutantes series , Vol. 1

Eighteen-year-old small-town mechanic Sawyer Taft gets much more than she bargains for when she’s made an offer she can’t possibly refuse.

Sawyer, who is white (as are all major characters), has never known her father’s identity, and her mother, Ellie, hasn’t exactly been the most reliable caretaker: In fact, sometimes Sawyer feels more like the mother in their relationship. Evidently Sawyer’s maternal grandmother, “aging Southern belle” Lillian Taft, tossed Ellie out when she became pregnant at 17 and has never kept in touch—or so Ellie claimed. When Lillian offers Sawyer a contract promising half a million bucks and a chance to find out who her biological father really is, Sawyer signs, but she must participate in all the season’s debutante events. Sawyer’s relatives don’t quite match the picture that her mother painted: Lillian is chock-full of Southern charm but with an edge that the wryly funny, no-nonsense Sawyer admires, and she grows close to her cousin, Lily. When Sawyer stumbles onto the dark secrets of a senator’s daughter out for revenge, finding her father takes a back seat to events that could signal disaster for the Tafts. One thing is certain: Nothing, and no one, is what it seems. Barnes’ (Bad Blood, 2017, etc.) immersive world of Southern debs hides a darkness beneath the white-gloved veneer of civility.

Sawyer’s smart narrative, along with plenty of biting social commentary, will keep readers turning the pages. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01413-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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