Conspiracies, counterconspiracies, lies and double crosses: It’s quite a ride.

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GRADUATION DAY

From the Testing series , Vol. 3

After discovering in Independent Study (2014) that the rebellion is secretly controlled by the administration it purports to act against, Cia must choose whom to trust.

It’s up to Cia to end the Testing and prevent a civil war that’s a setup for slaughter. When she brings the conspiracies to the attention of the United Commonwealth president (whom Cia works for as a student intern), President Collindar concludes that her own office has been infiltrated so thoroughly that none can be trusted. Rather than relying on one of her other underlings, Collindar gives Cia a hit list of strategic targets—Dr. Barnes and various officials connected to the Testing—to assassinate in order to put control of the Testing firmly into Collindar’s hands and to prevent civil war. But Cia knows this task is impossible for one person to accomplish: She must recruit others and, harder, trust them. But she doesn’t have long to evaluate—or test—her friends for loyalty and belief in the cause. Professor Holt and Cia’s other enemies close in on Cia with the goal of Redirecting her out of the University. Once and for all, Cia will prove if she has what it takes to lead or not. Twists and reveals are plentiful but not gratuitous, and the series’ loose threads are tied up. Readers who have been with Cia from the beginning will not be disappointed.

Conspiracies, counterconspiracies, lies and double crosses: It’s quite a ride. (Dystopian thriller. 12 & up)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-95921-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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