A highly original, richly layered debut that will reward patient readers.

IN THE SKIN OF A MONSTER

A white teenage girl finds herself caught in a nightmare version of her own world in this affecting Australian debut.

Seventeen-year-old Alice is haunted by the memory of her identical twin sister, who came to school with a gun three years before and killed seven kids. Guilt-ridden and alienated, Alice skips school and takes long walks into the Outback as a form of self-punishment. On one such walk she crosses paths with a ghostly girl who looks like her sister; when she reaches out to grab for her, Alice finds herself in a bizarre alternate reality, having unwittingly swapped places with the girl. She soon discovers that the alternate reality is a dreamscape in which the nightmares of the townspeople play out each night, filling the dream world with deadly monsters—the deadliest of which is the schoolgirl monster who shares her face. Despite this, Alice finds herself in an uneasy alliance with dream versions of her former classmates and Lux, a mysterious boy who despises her for reasons of his own. As Alice and the gang progress through the dreamscape, the connections between the real world and the dream world are slowly untangled. Told in distinctive alternating perspectives by Alice and Lux, this nuanced story proves as gripping as it is disorienting.

A highly original, richly layered debut that will reward patient readers. (Paranormal fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-76011-171-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

A worthy successor to an explosive debut.

BLOODMARKED

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 2

After Awakening the dormant spirit of her ancestor King Arthur Pendragon, almost-17-year-old Briana Matthews must fight to learn and control her magical inheritances.

As a Black person who also possesses the ability to use Root, a form of magic borrowed from deceased practitioners and passed down to her through her mother’s family, Bree is unique in the Line of Pendragon. It is through blood and violence that Bree’s magical abilities intertwined—both those from Arthur’s Welsh origins and from her family’s Bloodcraft originating during chattel slavery in the American South. Together they have turned her into one of the most powerful people either Line has ever known. The intricacies of her navigation of her new powers are at the heart of this sequel to Legendborn (2020), especially as Bree balances the knowledge that her Blackness creates a critical distance between her and the racist people she is sworn to protect as the king of all Legendborns. The plot is complex, and the morsels of information that help fill in the gaps of knowledge don’t always feel fully formed, which may leave readers confused as they try to keep up with the new powers and beings that are presented. Still, there are important, if hard to read, references, for example, when Bree is kidnapped and experimented on by an all-White council, a turn of events that reflects Deonn’s commitment to presenting unflinching truths about the cyclical insidiousness of racism.

A worthy successor to an explosive debut. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4163-7

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more