These characters are keepers.

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SEIZURE

From the Virals series , Vol. 2

Tory Brennan, 14, and her friends are still trying to determine exactly what happened to them following the events of the series opener (Virals, 2010).

The teens have been exposed to an experimental virus that altered their DNA, giving them characteristics comparable to wolves, enhancing their natural senses and creating a human pack. Hardly has this novel started when her father, Kit, drops a bomb. Due to the economy, funding has been pulled on his research project, necessitating a change of job and a move away from South Carolina and her pack mates—but not before she debuts into Charleston society, at her father's girlfriend's insistence. Determined to stay together, Tory, Ben, Hi and Shelton band together to search for the long-lost treasure of America’s most famous female pirate, Anne Bonny. It’s not long before things go awry, and they learn that they aren’t the only ones on the hunt. They’re going to need all their abilities just to survive. Dodging bullets, slipping out after curfew, following obscure clues into underground tunnels, not to mention Cotillion duties and snarky classmates, are just part of the adventure. Will this be their last? Reichs taps into the angst of teens, fear of separation and the uncertainty of today’s economy and wraps it all in an entertaining yarn of history, pirates and modern technology.

These characters are keepers.   (Thriller. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59514-394-5

Page Count: 491

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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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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