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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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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For fans of brooding bad boys and the pastel goth accidental necromancers who love them.

THE WHISPERING DARK

A deaf scholarship student at an occult university is plagued by ghosts.

Delaney Meyers-Petrov is so done with being treated like she’s fragile, but she’s not sure if she can hack it at Howe University, where the interdimensional travel program is mostly White, old-money kids who’ve been training for this their whole lives. Between the school’s lack of accommodations and her own internalized ableism, she is struggling, and her cochlear implant doesn’t help enough for her to keep up. Laney’s grateful for assistance from her (hot, muscular, rude) TA, Colton Price, but he hates her for some reason. Little does Laney know that Colton’s part of an occult boys’ club which plays with the boundary of death itself—a boundary Colton’s already crossed once. Laney, a girl with an extremely deliberate goth-adorable aesthetic, is well served by the purple prose (“the shadow-bitten arch of the doorway,” “suckling on the teat of decay”) and dialogue that wobbles between angst and snark in the style of teen paranormal television. Her unusual necromantic powers make her an irresistible target for the power players at Howe (where every figure with power and authority is male, and her peers and allies are all female), but at least Colton is sexy while he deceives and manipulates her. The worldbuilding is shaky but the romantic agita and ironic wit are present in spades. Most characters default to White.

For fans of brooding bad boys and the pastel goth accidental necromancers who love them. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80947-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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