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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With appeal to cynics and romantics alike, this profound exploration of life and love tempers harsh realities with the...

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THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

Natasha and Daniel meet, get existential, and fall in love during 12 intense hours in New York City.

Natasha believes in science and facts, things she can quantify. Fact: undocumented immigrants in the U.S., her family is being deported to Jamaica in a matter of hours. Daniel’s a poet who believes in love, something that can’t be explained. Fact: his parents, Korean immigrants, expect him to attend an Ivy League school and become an M.D. When Natasha and Daniel meet, Natasha’s understandably distracted—and doesn’t want to be distracted by Daniel. Daniel feels what in Japanese is called koi no yokan, “the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them.” The narrative alternates between the pair, their first-person accounts punctuated by musings that include compelling character histories. Daniel—sure they’re meant to be—is determined to get Natasha to fall in love with him (using a scientific list). Meanwhile, Natasha desperately attempts to forestall her family’s deportation and, despite herself, begins to fall for sweet, disarmingly earnest Daniel. This could be a sappy, saccharine story of love conquering all, but Yoon’s lush prose chronicles an authentic romance that’s also a meditation on family, immigration, and fate.

With appeal to cynics and romantics alike, this profound exploration of life and love tempers harsh realities with the beauty of hope in a way that is both deeply moving and satisfying. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49668-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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