THIN SPACE

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

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 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

TO KILL A SHADOW

An atmospheric and promising first installment.

A series opener blending fantasy and horror with an undercurrent of romance.

The sudden disappearance 50 years ago of the Sun Goddess, Raina, left the realm of Asidia awash in moonlight and misery. The annual Calling drafts boys, such as 18-year-old Kiara’s sickly brother, Liam, into the Knights of Eternal Star, who then venture into the accursed land of the Mist in search of answers. But Kiara’s brazenness captures the attention of the Hand of Death, the Commander of the Knights, and she’s recruited in her brother’s stead. Years of rigorous combat training have prepared Kiara well for the Knights—but not for the growing attraction between her and the Hand of Death himself, enigmatic Commander Jude Maddox. As they journey into the Mist, they must trust each other in order to survive and untangle the legends that just might save the realm. In a crowded fantasy field, the novel distinguishes itself by leaning into the macabre nature of its literally dark world, complete with shadow beasts, flesh-eating spiders, and the mercurial Mist itself. The unrelenting action sequences are not for the squeamish, and the dead (and undead) body count piles up. Cutscenes provide necessary narrative magic, reviving Kiara and Jude’s romance and buttressing the worldbuilding lore that opens many of the chapters. Main characters are cued white.

An atmospheric and promising first installment. (map) (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9781649374318

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

THE WOLVES ARE WATCHING

An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists.

The disappearance of a child unveils what lies hiding in the woods at the edge of a small town.

There are all sorts of stories about Picnic, Illinois, but it’s not until her toddler cousin, Madison, goes missing from her crib one night that 15-year-old Luce starts to believe them—and especially when she notices a pair of glowing, wolflike eyes through the windows of her house. To everybody’s relief, Madison is returned to her crib, seemingly safe and sound, soon after she vanished, but Luce and the child’s mother notice discomfiting differences in the 2-year-old. And yet, no one else seems to give credence to their concerns. Luce, prompted by a teacher, starts to research Picnic’s history and the many disappearances—and sudden reappearances—of baby girls, going back decades. Meanwhile, deep in the woods, Fanya, who narrates alternating chapters, tends to the baby girl and prepares for the ritual to welcome her as part of her pack when the full moon comes. As Luce’s and Fanya’s stories converge, so do past and present in Lund’s atmospheric novel. The story borrows elements from South Slavic lore about women who turn into animals to tell an affecting tale about small-town secrets, wronged people, and the bravery of two girls bent on getting to the truth in order to save lives. All characters are assumed White.

An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists. (Paranormal thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35109-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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