A tense, no-holds-barred page-turner.

WHAT SHE FOUND IN THE WOODS

A privileged girl grapples with trauma and mental health—while bodies turn up in the woods.

After her release from a psychiatric hospital, highly medicated Magdalena is exiled from Manhattan society and sent to her grandparents’ posh Washington state vacation home. She reconnects with the set from her childhood summer vacations there, including Rob (post–glow-up and crushing on her since age 13), and volunteers at a woman’s rehab shelter in a nearby town with other friends. But when she goes in the woods to think, she encounters a “Wildboy” named Bo with whom she immediately connects. In the first narrative arc, tension comes from her blossoming romance and in the slow reveal, via journal-entry flashbacks, of the dark past that prompted her breakdown. She fully owns up to racist, classist attitudes that enabled her scandal and considers her mistakes unforgivable. As she’s drawn deeper into Bo’s off-the-grid world (for example, meeting his parents, who push for her to get off her high-powered meds), the bodies of dead women are discovered and she hears of local, mythical, drug-dealing murderer Dr. Goodnight. While certain plot elements ring false, the quick pace allows readers to gloss over them and dive into the twisted mystery as Magdalena tries to figure out whom to trust—and if she can even trust herself. Sensitive readers should heed the book’s content warning and brace for suicidal themes and violence. Most characters are White.

A tense, no-holds-barred page-turner. (mental health resources) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72821-627-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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