DARK MIND RISING

From the Dark Intercept series , Vol. 2

Two years after Violet destroyed the Intercept in The Dark Intercept (2017), she’s pulled into a mystery that reveals the Intercept might not be gone.

A one-page recap covers the events and technology of the last book. Violet now runs the near-failing Crowley & Associates Detective Agency. She’s offered a case by the mother of a teen whose death has been ruled a suicide—the mother knows her daughter wouldn’t kill herself. Readers must power through Violet’s tensionless doubt despite definitive knowledge from the girl’s point-of-view passage right before her death and multiple pages about the other mysterious alleged suicides that follow (and that convince Violet that it’s more than a coincidence). Many of the investigation’s deductions come from Violet’s fellow teen employee (one of the few characters of color), while Violet dwells on the dark secret that she and Kendall saved his notes on the Intercept. Themes of change and of despair linked to unemployment are less relatable to the characters’ chronological ages than to the ages they act—most characters are fully independent genius prodigies, including a preteen who’s “one of the top lawyers on New Earth.” The uneven writing bounces among maudlin, melodramatic, and painfully cliché, with narration clunkers like “…the Intercept is dead. Or is it?” (of course it’s not) and “The tables had turned. The hunters were about to become the hunted.” The conclusion will frustrate.

Sloppy and cringeworthy . (Dystopian adventure. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8765-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers...

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PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING

Seventeen-year-old Jay Reguero searches for the truth about his cousin’s death amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs while on an epic trip back to his native Philippines.

Shocked out of his senioritis slumber when his beloved cousin Jun is killed by the police in the Philippines for presumably using drugs, Jay makes a radical move to spend his spring break in the Philippines to find out the whole story. Once pen pals, Jay hasn’t corresponded with Jun in years and is wracked by guilt at ghosting his cousin. A mixed heritage (his mother is white) Filipino immigrant who grew up in suburban Michigan, Jay’s connection to current-day Philippines has dulled from assimilation. His internal tensions around culture, identity, and languages—as “a spoiled American”—are realistic. Told through a mix of first-person narration, Jun’s letters to Jay, and believable dialogue among a strong, full cast of characters, the result is a deeply emotional story about family ties, addiction, and the complexity of truth. The tender relationship between Jay and Jun is especially notable—as is the underlying commentary about the challenges and nuances between young men and their uncles, fathers, male friends, and male cousins.

Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a young man of color with an earnest desire for the truth. (author’s note, recommended reading) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55491-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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