LIFE IS SHORT AND THEN YOU DIE

MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS FIRST ENCOUNTERS WITH MURDER

A collection of 18 tales of murder witnessed, committed, and experienced, from an array of YA and adult authors.

A luminary-studded author list notwithstanding, this collection doesn’t shoot high; the mostly implicitly white and heteronormative characters, in largely contemporary settings, combine with the murder theme to give this an air of same-same despite the variety of narrative styles and the many forms of murder. Standouts from adult authors include the heartwarming “A Different Hero’s Day” by Anthony Franze (The Outsider, 2017, etc.) and Barry Lancet (The Spy Across the Table, 2017, etc.), in which ADHD is the critical characteristic that allows the protagonist to save the day when another teen is targeted. “The Company I Keep” by Jeffrey Somers (contributor: No Bars and a Dead Battery, 2018, etc.) excels in its descriptive writing and the slow reveal of psychological damage. The YA contributions feature a wider range, including both of the historical settings and the only ghost story. Y.S. Lee’s (Twelve Sisters, 2018, etc.) prison murder tale “In Plain Sight,” complete with historical note, is particularly noteworthy, tackling as it does female agency, while Jasper Dent fans will enjoy Barry Lyga’s (co-author: The Hive, 2019, etc.) I Hunt Killers' (2012) prequel “Six Ways to Kill Your Grandmother.” Suited more to casual browsing than cover-to-cover reading, this anthology may entice teens to expand their mystery reading.

Diverting enough. (introduction, author bios) (Mystery. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19640-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

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

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?

No Comments Yet
more