From the Spliced series , Vol. 3

A valiant effort that attempts to wrap up the series but overreaches its mark.

Following soon after the events of Splintered (2019), this volume concludes the Spliced trilogy.

Jimi Corcoran once again finds herself embroiled in the conflict between chimeras—or modified people with animal DNA—and their allies and ultraconservatives who see chimeras as no longer human. This time, a militant chimera organization called CLAD is amping up the violence and may be responsible for recent terrorist acts. As the evil Howard Wells announces his bid for the U.S. presidency, Jimi and her boyfriend, Rex, try to discover who is behind CLAD. During their investigation, the teens discover that Wells has created a flu virus that will affect everyone who hasn’t inserted his Wellplant into their heads. The device is a souped-up smartphone connected to the wearer's brain. The themes of sentient technology, climate change, intense hatred for nonconforming people, and a scarily true-to-life pandemic often clutter a plot that moves forward at a jarring warp speed. Details from the Philadelphia setting center the story a bit, and the frankness about teens’ sexuality is refreshing. Gasp-inducing reveals and heart-rending deaths near the end come a little too late in the game. The final chapter ties up things so neatly that fans might come away underwhelmed. Minimal physical descriptions of nonchimera humans make racial diversity difficult to determine.

A valiant effort that attempts to wrap up the series but overreaches its mark. (Science fiction thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4091-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


Exactly what the title promises.

A grieving teen’s devotion to romance films might ruin her chances at actual romance.

Liz Buxbaum has always adored rom-coms, not least for helping her still feel close to her screenwriter mother, who died when she was little. Liz hopes that her senior year might turn into a real-life romantic fantasy, as an old crush has moved back to town, cuter and nicer than ever. Surely she can get Michael to ask her to prom. If only Wes, the annoying boy next door, would help her with her scheming! This charming, fluffy concoction manages to pack into one goofy plot every conceivable trope, from fake dating to the makeover to the big misunderstanding. Creative, quirky, daydreaming Liz is just shy of an annoying stereotype, saved by a dry wit and unresolved grief and anger. Wes makes for a delightful bad boy with a good heart, and supporting characters—including a sassy best friend, a perfect popular rival, even a (not really) evil stepmother—all get the opportunity to transcend their roles. The only villain here is Liz’s lovelorn imagination, provoking her into foolish lies that cause actual hurt feelings; but she is sufficiently self-aware to make amends just in time for the most important trope of all: a blissfully happy ending. All characters seem to be White by default.

Exactly what the title promises. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6762-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Close Quickview