Whittled down to a stand-alone, this might have been a classic of so-bad-it’s-goodness. Instead, the series ends as it...

ASHES TO ASHES

From the Burn for Burn series , Vol. 3

Supernatural and real-life drama collide in a revenge fantasy run amok.

Once again, readers will find themselves on Jar Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, in the company of (mostly) moneyed youth with little more to do than foment drama among themselves. Once again, the not-so-well-laid plans of ritzy (but good-hearted!) Lillia Cho and rough-around-the-edges (but good-hearted!) Kat DeBrassio will go awry. Once again, readers will wonder, what is going on with Mary Zane? What’s going on is she’s dead, and she has been all along, her spirit trapped on Jar Island and bent on exacting vengeance against Reeve, whom she blames for her suicide years ago. Why did she wait so long for revenge? Why don’t Lillia and Kat try harder to find her or discuss the strange things they’re noticing, and how do they suddenly become expert spell-casters when it’s time to fight back? This trilogy has had readers pondering the differences between a read so bad it’s good and one that is merely lamentably bad. The former includes clichéd characters, predictable plotlines and clunky dialogue, but it also possesses a spirit of insouciance, a joie de vivre that propels readers breathlessly on. In short, it is a fun page-turner. The latter is a slog.

Whittled down to a stand-alone, this might have been a classic of so-bad-it’s-goodness. Instead, the series ends as it began: a tedious, overstuffed mess. (Paranormal suspense. 15-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4081-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A fresh, funny, college-set, coming-of-age tale.

FRESH

Elliot McHugh chronicles a freshman year of college filled with new friends and sexual escapades.

In this story loosely inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, Elliot is an outgoing, undeclared, new student at Boston’s Emerson College. She immediately becomes close friends with her roommate, Lucy Garabedian, who comes from a large Armenian American family and has far more ambitious college and career plans than she does. Elliot’s primary goal is to sleep with many people of any gender and with no commitments. This comes to fruition but isn’t as fulfilling as she thought, especially as she dwells on a conversation with Rose Knightley, her gorgeous resident adviser, about what constitutes good sex. Additionally, her courses are more of a struggle than she expected, and her behavior results in friendship hurdles. As the year progresses, Elliot learns more about who she is, what she wants, and what it takes to be a good friend and romantic partner. Elliot’s meta, first-person narration is conversational and often hilarious, with footnotes and sections directly addressing readers and inviting their participation. While it’s sometimes over-the-top, it all fits with Elliot’s exuberant persona. She’s a well-crafted, messy character who makes mistakes but ultimately means well. Unabashedly sex-positive and queer, this story is mostly light and breezy, but it has serious moments as well. Elliot is assumed White; there is some ethnic diversity in secondary characters.

A fresh, funny, college-set, coming-of-age tale. (Fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4813-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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