Spine-chilling and splendidly gory, with a genre-perfect stormy night denouement: the power cut, the phones out, the corpses...

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BREAKER

A serial killer's son is drawn to the daughter of his dad's final victim.

It's been years since Kyle's dad was convicted for the infamous Bonebreaker murders, and he finally has the chance to escape that legacy. Uncle Coby's somehow wrangled Kyle a place at a Pennsylvania prep school. At Killdeer Academy, he can become Kyle Henry instead of Kyle Henry Bluchevsky, the Bonebreaker's son. Surely it's only a heinous coincidence that his first friend at Killdeer turns out to be Naomi Steadman, the only girl to see the Bonebreaker and live? But it can't be a coincidence that people are dying: a girl falls from the academy roof, and a boy is found hanging in the dark. Killdeer Academy provides a suitably Gothic setting for these new deaths: the ivy-covered turrets, the alcoves populated by dusty taxidermic birds, the campus hidden behind iron gates in the deep woods, once a mental institution until arson by inmates in the 1940s left many in the asylum dead. Chapters interleave Kyle's voice with Naomi's (both are white), occasionally interrupted with news clippings, court documents, and other ephemera. These, along with subtle in-story hints (and numerous red herrings) slowly paint a picture of the Bonebreaker's past—and Killdeer's present.

Spine-chilling and splendidly gory, with a genre-perfect stormy night denouement: the power cut, the phones out, the corpses revealed by lightning . (Thriller. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5908-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of...

I HAVE NO SECRETS

A nonverbal teen becomes the “real-life password” to solving a terrible crime in this British import.

Sixteen-year-old Jemma has “no secrets of [her] own.” Quadriplegic due to cerebral palsy, she can’t move or speak and depends on her foster parents and her aide, Sarah, for everything from eating to using the bathroom. But people often share their secrets with her. After all, Jemma can never tell—even when Sarah’s sleazy boyfriend, Dan, hints at his involvement in a recent murder just before Sarah goes missing. But when innovative technology offers Jemma a chance to communicate, can she expose Dan’s secret before he silences her? Despite its suspenseful premise, the plot pales against Joelson’s (Girl in the Window, 2018) intimate, unflinching exploration of Jemma’s character; the book’s most powerful tension lies in Jemma’s simple, direct narration of her unrecognized, uncomfortably realistic frustrations and fears, such as patronizing adults who “don’t realize that [she has] a functioning brain” and her worry that her overwhelmed parents will stop fostering. Refreshingly, the author’s detailed depiction of augmentative and alternative communication explores both the joy of self-expression and the physical and mental effort it requires. Jemma’s bond with her chaotic but supportive foster family grounds the story, particularly her touching rapport with her younger foster brother, Finn, who’s autistic and also nonverbal. Most characters appear white.

Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of “family.” (Suspense. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9336-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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