TIGER EYES

Blume's latest novel begins like many of her personalized, single-problem scenarios, with 15-year-old Davey's father shot to death by robbers at his 7-Eleven store in Atlantic City. Davey can't function for weeks, and it is largely for her that her emotionally and financially stranded mother accepts shelter in Los Alamos with kind Aunt Bitsy and her physicist-husband Walter. Once there, Davey's outsider reactions to Bitsy, Walter, and Los Alamos add dimension to her grief and her recovery. True, we experience no culture shock too strong for Blume's smooth readability; there is nothing subtle about the irony of Bomb City's bland security and weapons designer Waiter's overprotective posture; and Waiter's elitist ugliness is overdone in one violent confrontation with Davey. Also, Davey's chaste but warm relationship with a nice young man she meets in the canyon, plus the coincidence of his father's dying at the hospital where Davey volunteers as a candy-striper, are on the cute romantic level. Nevertheless Davey's lonely struggle to come to terms with the killing, her everyday conflicts with her well-meaning but aggravating aunt and uncle, her impatience with her mother, who finally breaks down and then withdraws from the family, her scorn for the "nerd" physicist Mom dates on her way to recovery, her concern for a high-status but alcoholic school friend, and her assessment of the social structure at the Los Alamos high school—all this takes on a poignancy and a visible edge we wouldn't see had Davey (or Blume) remained in New Jersey.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1982

ISBN: 0385739893

Page Count: 225

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1982

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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