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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Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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