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A FORGERY OF ROSES

A heady blend of the fantastical, the murderous, and the romantic.

Magic, romance, and mystery intertwine in this stand-alone historical fantasy.

It’s been one year since Myra’s parents vanished without a trace, and she has been left alone to take care of her ailing younger sister, Lucy. Barely making ends meet, Myra survives as a painter’s apprentice in the same studio where her own mother used to work. But just like her mother’s, Myra’s artistry holds a big secret: As a Prodigy, Myra can use her painting to change the bodies of humans and animals. If she is found out, her life could be in danger from those who would exploit her abilities—or destroy her as an abomination. But when the governor’s wife offers Myra money (and threatens to expose her secret) to bring Will, her recently deceased son, back to life, Myra has no choice but to comply. In doing so, she meets August, Will’s painfully shy brother, and—once Myra realizes that Will’s death was not an accident—they immerse themselves in a world of dangerous secrets. This effortless blend of fantasy, sisterly love, sweet romance, and murder mystery is a gorgeous take on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The novel focuses on Myra’s touching relationships with Lucy and August, the twisting murder investigation, and, above all, Myra’s own empowering journey. The main characters are cued as White; the story thoughtfully addresses Lucy’s chronic illness and August’s anxiety.

A heady blend of the fantastical, the murderous, and the romantic. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-335-41866-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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