Ivy’s investigation is suspenseful, but the narrative also offers unexpected emotional and philosophical depths that emerge...

GARDENIA

With only a month to live, high school senior Ivy investigates her best friend’s murder.

Ivy secretly sees countdown clocks floating above people’s heads that reveal the time left before they die. Ivy believes “the numbers don’t lie,” making her predicted death, within months of her best friend Vanessa’s, inevitable. But Ivy can’t help but hope she will be able to somehow intervene and save Vanessa before her countdown ends. Instead, in a moment of self-pity and self-sabotage, Ivy kisses Vanessa’s boyfriend—and is caught by her own boyfriend, Myers. During the ensuing chaos, the girls separate, leaving a frantic Ivy searching for Vanessa, whose body is later found in the woods. After two months, the investigation has stalled while Ivy is nearly paralyzed by guilt, longing for Myers, and fear about her own death. But when she concludes solving the crime could be her salvation, her knowledge of her own time of death becomes an asset by encouraging bold investigative tactics. Plenty of red herrings lend plausibility to Ivy’s occasionally wild suspicions about community members. And when Ivy begins receiving death threats—made credible by her own ticking clock—readers will anticipate and dread the climax. Though Ivy’s small town is not at all-white one, her immediate circle seems to be.

Ivy’s investigation is suspenseful, but the narrative also offers unexpected emotional and philosophical depths that emerge from her musings about the nature of life, death, and personal legacy. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62681-841-5

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Diversion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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