EMBERS

An impending apocalypse provides a compelling backdrop for romance in this page-turning first installment of a new YA series.
It’s almost the end of the world as we know it, and 17-year-old Ember Shay O’Meara feels fine. If anything, she feels a little too fine. A fiery car crash recently killed her parents but left her unscathed, without a single scar to show for it. Per her parents’ wishes, guardianship shifted to her family friend Ila, who lives in a small Tennessee town in the Smoky Mountains. There’s a reason Ila is in charge; it turns out that both she and Ember are Watchers: special, “half human” creatures descended from angels. Ember must learn everything she can about her kind from Ila, but her supernatural education doesn’t excuse her from having to attend high school. There, her good looks gain her the acceptance of the cool girls and the attention of the football team’s quarterback. However, Ember falls in love with a handsome, half-human “Demon” named Sawyer McCrae, who lives with other evil creatures in a high-walled compound in town. Sparks fly, sometimes quite literally, as Ember and Sawyer battle their impulses—and better judgment—to figure out whether they can be together. The question becomes more urgent as the apocalypse looms large in their future. Hopkins (Lamb to the Slaughter, 2014, etc.) expertly weaves her plotlines together in this compulsively readable teen romance. She peppers the novel with short passages from the Bible (including the book of Revelation) in order to craft a good-versus-evil morality tale writ large. For example, Sawyer, like others in his Demon group, must feed on human souls for sustenance, but he’s hesitant about it, especially after things turn more macabre and healthy humans, as opposed to infirm drifters, start getting killed. Such ethical issues are disquietingly uncomfortable and perhaps even beyond the scope of this story. Nevertheless, Hopkins delivers many successful elements of young-adult romance—appealing lead characters, high-voltage chemistry, repressed sexuality—which will win her ardent followers.

A paranormal YA tale that’s highly recommended for fans of the Twilight series; move over, Bella and Edward, there’s a new set of kids on the block.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 351

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more