Determined to confront Lorcan Labraid, the “evil of the world,” Will must first find the vampire who cursed him with this...

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From the Mercian Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Will, a 750-year-old vampire and the heir to the Earl of Mercia, awakens in the 21st century and, with his first kill, finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue.

Determined to confront Lorcan Labraid, the “evil of the world,” Will must first find the vampire who cursed him with this undead existence long ago. With the help of 16-year-old runaway Eloise, Will prepares himself for the first battle, even as he finds himself inexplicably drawn to the girl. Wignall, an award-winning crime novelist, fails to deliver the well-rounded characters, compelling mystery and twisting action scenes that comprise his work for adults. Despite an interesting back story, Will is bland, with little emotion or motivation driving him forward in his centuries-long existence. If there were not constant reminders of his undead status, he would be indistinguishable from any other love interest. Eloise suffers from the same boilerplate feel, and their connection is flimsy at best. There’s no sense of mystery in Will’s search for his creator, and the climactic battle sequence could have been lifted from many a generic vampire movie.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60684-220-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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