A modern Tuck Everlasting with a thriller twist: fun, in spite of its improbabilities.

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IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS

Nearly 100 years after accidentally drinking from the Fountain of Youth, perpetually 17-year-old Emma investigates a series of murders.

Through flashbacks, readers learn how inadvertently drinking from the Fountain of Youth in 1916 eventually led to the tragic murders of Emma’s and Charlie’s families, both white, at the hands of the congregation of the Church of Light. While the two flee for their lives, Charlie decides separation is the safer choice and deliberately breaks Emma’s heart to convince her to leave him. Both soon regret the decision, but without a plan or modern modes of communication, they are unable to reunite. Flash-forward to present-day Dallas, where Emma, still searching for Charlie, finds herself also investigating a string of murdered girls who she believes are also victims of the Church of Light. After a neighboring girl is kidnapped, Emma hopes to rescue her by using herself as bait—a decision that ultimately leads to revelations about the day when she and Charlie gained their eternal youth. Interspersed throughout Emma’s mystery story are chapters dedicated to recounting how Charlie has spent his life; these effectively capture the loneliness, isolation, and even regret that accompanies the secrecy required by eternal youth. The novel’s resolution is awfully quick, but the storylines’ convergence is largely satisfying.

A modern Tuck Everlasting with a thriller twist: fun, in spite of its improbabilities. (Paranormal mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61695-588-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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