A valuable addition to the growing body of 9/11–related teen literature—one that will be especially appealing to teens today.

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HOPE AND OTHER PUNCHLINES

The legacy of 9/11 asserts its mark on a pair of contemporary, white, Jewish teens.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Abbi Hope Goldstein was immortalized in a famous photograph taken on her first birthday, in which she was being carried out of her day care while the first World Trade Center tower collapsed in the background. Thereafter known as “Baby Hope,” 17-year-old Abbi is recognized all over her suburban New Jersey town. When she starts to develop a bloody cough, her instinct is to hide her symptoms from her worrying parents so that she can enjoy one last summer before having to face the likelihood that she will succumb to 9/11 syndrome, which afflicts some of those exposed to toxins at ground zero. Working as a summer camp counselor a few towns over, she is immediately recognized by her co-worker Noah Stern, who sees in Abbi the potential to answer a life-defining question regarding his own 9/11 tragedy. Together they embark on a mission to talk to the other individuals pictured in the Baby Hope photo, an emotional journey that is tempered by a generous amount of banter between the quick-witted, endearingly awkward pair. Ultimately, their story delivers its fair share of gut punches and cathartic moments, couched in an overall light-toned narrative.

A valuable addition to the growing body of 9/11–related teen literature—one that will be especially appealing to teens today. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6678-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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