An intriguing foray into a devastating future—and yet one where hope abides.

THE ONES WE'RE MEANT TO FIND

An apocalyptic future tests the bonds of love between sisters.

In this future world, climate change and other disasters have brought people together from different countries into eco-cities that levitate above their regions. Sixteen-year-old Kasey Mizuhara disassociates herself from people, moving through the world like an alien or ghost, observing her human companions. She prefers the cool comfort of logic, and the only one she loves and looks to for direction is Celia, her older sister. Cee, on the other hand, loves too much, continually pushing boundaries and breaking rules. Yet the sisters admire each other for their complementary strengths. As the world crumbles around them due to human-made disasters, Kasey strives to uncover the mystery surrounding Cee’s disappearance while Cee survives, marooned on an island and driven to search for Kasey through her wavering memories. While the science-fiction setting often does not feel fully realized enough to anchor readers in this world where the residents of the floating eco-cities carry out most of their nonessential activities in holographic mode, the story is a compelling exploration of humanity and its tendency toward selfishness and self-destruction. The pacing is maddeningly slow at first, but midway through, the action accelerates, racing to a breathless end. Readers who puzzle through this world will find a curious struggle that may answer the question of whether humanity is worth saving.

An intriguing foray into a devastating future—and yet one where hope abides. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-25856-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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