A semi-climactic confrontation leaves characters poised for Book 3; only series devotees will be as well.

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THORNHILL

From the Hemlock series

The plot wallows as Mackenzie struggles to reunite with her werewolf boyfriend, Kyle, in this sequel to Hemlock (2012).

She hopes to find him in Denver, something of a mecca for those infected with Lupine Syndrome. With two of her best friends—boyfriend wannabe Jason, recently a member of the werewolf-hating Trackers, and werewolf Serena—she tracks him down at a werewolf nightclub presided over by her father, who abandoned her three years before. There’s little time for reunions, though, as a Tracker raid quickly sends Mackenzie, Kyle and Serena to Thornhill, a model “rehabilitation camp.” There, Mackenzie poses as a werewolf, hoping to effect a rescue from inside. Complicating matters is the removal of Serena to a top-secret facility within Thornhill, for no-doubt-nefarious purposes. This is too bad, as Serena was one of the more interesting characters in the first book, but a couple other wolves—Eve, a punk protégée of Mackenzie’s father’s, and Dex, an internee with dark suspicions—help to compensate. Unfortunately, far too much of the plot is given over to Mackenzie’s hand-wringing over having put everybody in danger and the swoony kisses she shares with Kyle in stolen moments. Real-world parallels to such issues as closeted homosexuality and the spread of HIV are quickly indicated and then dropped.

A semi-climactic confrontation leaves characters poised for Book 3; only series devotees will be as well. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-204868-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A riveting tour de force.

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SADIE

Sadie is seeking her sister’s killer; months later, podcast producer West McCray seeks to learn why Sadie abandoned her car and vanished.

When Mattie was born to Claire, a white, drug-addicted, single mother, Sadie, 6, became her de facto parent. Her baby sister’s love filled a hole in Sadie’s fiercely protective heart. Claire favored Mattie, who remained attached to her long after Claire disappeared from their grim, trailer-park home in rural Colorado. Sadie believes that Mattie’s determination to find Claire—which Sadie opposed—led to her brutal murder at age 13. Now 19, Sadie sets out to find and kill the man she holds responsible for her sister’s murder. Interwoven with Sadie’s first-person account is the transcript of McCray’s podcast series, The Girls, tracking his efforts to learn what’s happened to Sadie, prompted and partly guided by the sisters’ sympathetic neighbor. West’s off-the-record conversations are also included. Sadie is smart, observant, tough, and at times heartbreakingly vulnerable, her interactions mediated by a profound stutter. In the podcast, characters first seen through Sadie’s ruthless eyes further reveal (or conceal) their interactions and motives. Like Salla Simukka’s Lumikki Andersson, Sadie’s a powerful avatar: the justice-seeking loner incarnated as a teenage girl. Sadie exempts no one—including herself—from her unsparing judgment. Conveyed indirectly through its effect on victims, child sexual abuse permeates the novel as does poverty’s intergenerational legacy.

A riveting tour de force. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10571-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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