Those who manage to hang on through the devastating climax will immediately turn back to the beginning to catch the clues...

THIN SPACE

A creepy supernatural chiller sets up a gut-punch of desolation and loss.

For three months, high school junior Marsh Windsor has been refusing to wear shoes, ignoring schoolwork and friends, and getting into fights. His parents and teachers—even his former girlfriend—tolerate his bizarre behavior as an inability to cope with the car wreck that seriously injured Marsh and killed his twin, Austin. Only the new girl, Maddie, knows that Marsh is seeking a “thin space,” a portal between the realms of the living and the dead; and Maddie has her own reasons for abetting his search. Casella’s debut is a viscerally raw examination of grief, in which the universal question of adolescence—“who am I?”—becomes “who am I without you?” The spare prose, wherein the bleak New England weather seems more real than the characters vaguely swirling across Marsh’s awareness, immerses readers in his ratcheting desperation. His first-person voice throbs with agony, guilt and anger, all felt through a foggy numbness that fails to conceal that Marsh is hiding something crucial. This very unreliability propels a gripping narrative, even though little actually happens.

Those who manage to hang on through the devastating climax will immediately turn back to the beginning to catch the clues they missed. Brutal and brilliant. (Paranormal fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58270-435-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Beyond Words/Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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