From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Snappy dialogue and well-paced excitement bring this adventure to its ambiguous but nevertheless satisfying conclusion

The Arcadia trilogy concludes with magic, shootouts, family betrayals and a cruise ship full of monsters: everything that’s necessary for a romance about Cosa Nostra shape shifters.

After the death of her aunt and sister, Rosa has become head of the Alcantara dynasty of Sicilian mobsters. She’s made nothing but enemies among her own family—because of her romance with Alessandro, head of the rival Carnevare family, because she’s cleaning up the least savory of her family’s criminal enterprises or simply because she’s an outsider—and soon, she and Alessandro are on the run, framed for a murder they didn’t commit. Since the discovery that she can turn into a 9-foot-long snake (while Alessandro can become an enormous panther), Rosa has learned not to be surprised by anything. Still, new discoveries (both magical and mundane) strain her credulity to the breaking point. A friend whose corpse she’s seen appears to be alive. Rosa’s dead father, seemingly involved in the rape and abortion that originally sent Rosa to Sicily, is connected to dark mob business and mad science. As they seek answers, revenge or at least a quiet moment, Alessandro and Rosa face certain doom with believably affectionate bickering. Refreshingly for a paranormal romance, the two protect and fight for each other with equal strength and zeal. Rosa and her enemies leave a trail of corpses, some explicitly gruesome, all the way to the cinematic conclusion at a long-drowned village.

Snappy dialogue and well-paced excitement bring this adventure to its ambiguous but nevertheless satisfying conclusion . (Paranormal romance. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-200610-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014


Only marginally intriguing.

In a remote part of Utah, in a “temple of excellence,” the best of the best are recruited to nurture their talents.

Redemption Preparatory is a cross between the Vatican and a top-secret research facility: The school is rooted in Christian ideology (but very few students are Christian), Mass is compulsory, cameras capture everything, and “maintenance” workers carry Tasers. When talented poet Emma disappears, three students, distrusting of the school administration, launch their own investigation. Brilliant chemist Neesha believes Emma has run away to avoid taking the heat for the duo’s illegal drug enterprise. Her boyfriend, an athlete called Aiden, naturally wants to find her. Evan, a chess prodigy who relies on patterns and has difficulty processing social signals, believes he knows Emma better than anyone. While the school is an insidious character on its own and the big reveal is slightly psychologically disturbing, Evan’s positioning as a tragic hero with an uncertain fate—which is connected to his stalking of Emma (even before her disappearance)—is far more unsettling. The ’90s setting provides the backdrop for tongue-in-cheek technological references but doesn’t do anything for the plot. Student testimonials and voice-to-text transcripts punctuate the three-way third-person narration that alternates among Neesha, Evan, and Aiden. Emma, Aiden, and Evan are assumed to be white; Neesha is Indian. Students are from all over the world, including Asia and the Middle East.

Only marginally intriguing. (Mystery. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266203-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020


A deep dive into trauma, with light at the end of the tunnel.

A teen’s sense of self is unsettled by a kidnapping.

After a prologue reveals the hero’s captive status, the story introduces Sayers Wayte as he was before—an uber-wealthy, hard-partying, privilege-flaunting Texas teen who’s falling in with a meaner crowd (including a friendship with a bully who ridicules Sayers’ best friend for his bisexuality and targets a vulnerable nerd in encounters that rapidly escalate to disturbing levels off-page). The first act balances Sayers’ charm and potential with his character failings while keeping readers guessing who the kidnapper will be (and what their motivations are). Once he’s been kidnapped, Sayers must attempt to manipulate his kidnapper by playing along with who the kidnapper wants him to be—at first, it’s a ruse to create chances to try to escape, but eventually Sayers’ identity and feelings toward his kidnapper begin to blur. A dangerous discovery pushes his mind to the brink to protect him and keep him alive. Unlike hostage stories that end with the rescue, Roe digs deep into what happens in the aftermath as Sayers tries to learn how to be a functioning individual again and struggles with rebuilding his entire self. There are no easy answers for Sayers’ issues, but with determination and help from key friends, he finds hope. Aside from a character with a Guatemalan father, most characters default to White.

A deep dive into trauma, with light at the end of the tunnel. (Thriller. 15-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-305173-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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