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

SPIKED

From the Spliced series , Vol. 3

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 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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THE PAPER GIRL OF PARIS

Passionate, impulsive Chloe and her popular older sister, Adalyn, were inseparable—until the Nazis invaded France in 1940 and Adalyn started keeping secrets.

Over half a century later, Alice, Chloe’s 16-year-old American granddaughter, has just inherited her childhood home in Paris. The fully furnished apartment has clearly been neglected for decades and raises more questions than it answers: Why didn’t Gram talk about her childhood? Who is the second girl in the photos throughout the apartment? Why didn’t Gram’s family return there after the war? Alice’s father is reluctant to discuss anything that might upset Alice’s mother, who’s still reeling from her mother’s death, so Alice decides to find answers on her own. What she eventually learns both shocks and heals her family. Chapters alternate between Alice’s and Adalyn’s voices, narrating Adalyn’s experience as a French Christian of the Nazi occupation and Alice’s attempts to understand what happened after the war. The girls’ stories parallel one another in significant ways: Each has a romance with a young Frenchman, each has a parent struggling with depression, and each must consider the lengths she would go to protect those she loves. Though at times feeling a bit rushed, Alice’s engaging contemporary perspective neatly frames Adalyn’s immersive, heartbreaking story as it slowly unfolds—providing an important history lesson as well as a framework for discussing depression. Alice and her family are white.

Gripping. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293662-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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