A humorous and endearing look at the throes of predestined teenage love.

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LOVESTRUCK

An immortal cupid-in-training falls in love with a human after she accidentally sticks herself with an arrow.

Sixteen-year-old Kalixta has been skeptical of her cupid calling since she experienced the Thunderclap, realizing, “in the end, the Fates will decide what happens, no matter what I do.” She questions the marriage of her parents, Eros and Psyche, and the millennia-old patterns the gods are stuck in. However, when she becomes spellbound to Benicio, a bass-playing Mexican-American who was her original target, Kali enrolls in a mortal high school in Arizona while trying to decipher the riddle posed by the Oracle to regain her heart. With the help of her best friend, Deya (daughter of Aphrodite and an Amazonian river god), and Artemis, the goddess of the hunt herself, Kali must find a balance between the arrow’s pull toward Ben and her friendship with her ex-boyfriend Hector (son of Apollo and Calliope). Watson (Shoot the Moon, 2018, etc.) creates a world where Greek mythological characters have Bond-worthy gadgets, can change their appearances at will, and are all-knowing when it comes to both Hellenic and contemporary pop culture. While acknowledging the existence of non-Greek gods, Watson gives the Greeks control of “most everything in the Western World” yet achieves diversity by incorporating people (and gods) of color into the story.

A humorous and endearing look at the throes of predestined teenage love. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63583-030-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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