All the flavor of a macaron, bound by a ganache of sweet, supernatural grit

MARIE ANTOINETTE, SERIAL KILLER

A family trinket leads an American student in Paris to an undercurrent of ancestral deceit and supernatural murder. 

Colette Iselin is about to leave on a nine-day school trip to Paris. She summers in New York City. And her best girlfriends are two very rich queen bees. A perfect life—except that Colette’s parents are divorced, and Colette is too terrified (and shallow) to tell her besties she shops secondhand. On the eve of her departure, she finds a family heirloom necklace. What initially seems just a pretty accessory proves to be a link to a secret society sworn to protect Marie Antoinette—and its heirs are being mysteriously decapitated. Even as Colette explores this grisly, dangerous puzzle, she plays an emotional tug of war, torn between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in. From sweet and fickle Colette to a consummate mean girl to an unassuming heartthrob, archetypes of chick-lit abound, along with supernatural chills and well-researched accuracy. Though Alender’s heroine might be too shaky to stand on her own feet at times, the descriptions of Parisian streets, bistros, monuments and meals are sturdy. Colette is likable, but her temperament is as bumpy as the ancient, cobbled streets she explores; though sometimes frustrating, it makes her all the more genuine.

All the flavor of a macaron, bound by a ganache of sweet, supernatural grit . (Supernatural chick-lit. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-46809-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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