This vivid, thoroughly imagined paranormal world will draw readers into its icy realm.

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UNBREAKABLE

From the Legion series , Vol. 1

In a fast-paced series opener, Kennedy Waters encounters a ghost, loses her mother and meets a love interest—all in the first few pages.

Until a grave-jumping “vengeance spirit” inhabits her cat, Kennedy’s worst problem is that her dad abandoned her family. After twins Lukas and Jared arrive, saving her life with ghost-squelching liquid salt, Kennedy’s world rapidly turns surreal. Now she must use her special talent (an eidetic memory) to work with other gifted teens, members of an ancient Legion trying to assemble the Shift, a tool required to destroy the demon Andras. Collecting the Shift’s five pieces prompts encounters with blood-chilling ghosts fiercely guarding their parts of the puzzle in abandoned mansions and wells. Garcia excels at cinematic, gripping ghost scenes and generating suspense (will Kennedy and Jared connect? Is Kennedy the final, fifth member of the Legion?). Though characters are quite plucky and engaging when wraith-fighting, occasionally their too-human teen concerns (If you really knew me, would you love me? Will Jared leave me like Dad did?) ring melodramatic, especially when placed amid scenes of mortal danger. Just as readers settle into what seems a predictable plotline (find piece of Shift leading to whereabouts of next piece, extinguish ghost guarding it, repeat), Garcia shakes it up with an ending that will leave readers reaching for the next book.

This vivid, thoroughly imagined paranormal world will draw readers into its icy realm. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0316210171

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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