Whether or not Gabby and Ryan make it into readers’ own top tens, readers will root for them.

TOP TEN

Cotugno’s newest follows a seemingly mismatched duo over the first four years of their friendship.

White high schoolers Gabby and Ryan make an unlikely pair. Gabby’s intense and untreated social anxiety makes her relatively reclusive, sticking to her family’s weekly Friday night Monopoly games and spending time with her one close friend. Ryan is an extroverted hockey player, effortlessly popular with a string of short-term girlfriends. Their chance meeting in ninth grade at Gabby’s sister’s party leads them to become best friends almost instantly, much to everyone’s surprise. With some persistence, Ryan becomes one of the few people who can distract Gabby from her “panickers” and draw her out of her shell, while Gabby becomes one of the few people who’s deeply honest with Ryan and looks out for his health after multiple concussions. While both characters find themselves attracted to each other, missed signals and poor timing (including when both bisexual Gabby and straight Ryan have girlfriends at the same time) complicate the potential for a romantic relationship. Their prioritization of their interpersonal relationship, person-to-person and regardless of romance, is endearing and refreshing. The third-person narration, which alternates between Ryan and Gabby, at times feels distant, but the nonlinear narrative structure (divided into 10 interconnected moments in their relationship and beginning with their consummation after graduation) makes a compelling balance.

Whether or not Gabby and Ryan make it into readers’ own top tens, readers will root for them. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241830-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more