Another horse book with a trite dystopian twist.

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A GATHERING OF WINGS

From the Centauriad series , Vol. 2

The last human must re-enter the wild in order to save her best friends in this meandering sequel in an unremarkable series (Daughter of the Centaurs, 2012).

Malora Thora-Jayke (aka Ironbound, Victorious and Resurrected) has traded the bush for a comfortable life in Mount Kheiron, home of the centaurs. Despite her apprenticeship as a blacksmith, her own paddock and the Apex’s favor, Malora yearns to find her black stallion, Sky, and the mysterious man of her dreams, Lume. Following a trail of rumors, Malora visits the dangerous city of Kahiro, with her centaur friends—shallow Zephele, stern Neal and curious Orion—and the scholarly faun, Honus, providing both hindrance and help. Going solo, she encounters death, Lume and a band of wild centaurs, but she emerges triumphant, with Sky and a new herd in tow. When Malora’s actions bring unexpected consequences, she finds that she must defend her friends from foes, family and mythical monsters. Though Malora boasts impressive survival skills, her contrasting social inexperience allows readers to learn about the world of the hibes (or hybrids), the legacy of the revered Scienticians and the near-extinction of the human race alongside Malora. Klimo tends toward heavy-handed exposition, slow pacing and flat secondary characters; that she excels at describing the physical world and chronicling Malora’s emotional growth does not sufficiently compensate for the weaknesses in the story.

Another horse book with a trite dystopian twist. (cast of characters, glossary; unseen) (Dystopian fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86976-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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