Readers who think colloquium interruptum is an exceptionally slender premise for a 300-plus–page trilogy conclusion are...

THE ONE

From the Selection series , Vol. 3

The 35 Selection candidates have been whittled down to four; whom will Prince Maxon choose?

There’s contained, competent Elise, sweet, kind Kriss, gorgeous, bitchy Celeste and narrator America, who just can’t seem to keep herself from upsetting the apple cart of the Illéan monarchy. Her impulsive thoughts and actions—when the bad Southern rebels start picking off victims caste by caste, she advises the populace to fight back—have King Clarkson fuming. He wants America gone, but America and Maxon want each other—maybe. Amid sorties to meet with the nice Northern rebels and the pageantry of the Selection, the tiresome push-pull of Cass’ love triangle continues. America and Maxon, and America and hometown sweetheart–turned–palace guard Aspen, keep coming this close to having the critical conversations that will settle matters; it is this tension, not the pretense of political drama, that maintains the plot. Though there’s some attempt made to fill out some of the secondary characterizations, by and large it falls flat. King Clarkson in particular is a cartoon of a blustering strongman; it’s impossible to take him at all seriously as a ruling head of state. And for all America’s protestations of spunky egalitarianism, there’s absolutely nothing in her character or the story structure that does anything but support the corrupt system she supposedly rejects.

Readers who think colloquium interruptum is an exceptionally slender premise for a 300-plus–page trilogy conclusion are right. (Dystopian romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-205999-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A powerful tale of found family and first love.

SOME MISTAKES WERE MADE

After a year away, Ellis returns home to confront her past.

Graduating from high school far from everything familiar was not part of Ellis Truman’s original plans, but she nevertheless ended up spending her senior year with her aunt in California. In Indiana, Ellis practically grew up with the Albrey family and their three tightknit sons, Dixon, Tucker, and Easton. Now, Tucker wants her to return home for matriarch Sandry Albrey’s 50th birthday celebration on the Fourth of July—but Ellis is dreading seeing Easton, as they haven’t talked since she left. Chapters alternate between past and present, and much of the story unravels slowly: How did she come to live with the Albreys? What caused Ellis to then end up in San Diego? What happened in her relationship with Easton? Patient readers will find the heartfelt tension pays off. With her father in and out of jail and an absent mother, socio-economic differences separating Ellis from the middle-class Albreys don’t go unnoticed, and Ellis’ down-to-earth journey shows how she unpacks her feelings about her relationship with her parents. The slow-build romance is swoonworthy, and young adult fans of Colleen Hoover seeking emotional devastation and unforgettable characters will find much to enjoy here. Characters read as White.

A powerful tale of found family and first love. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308853-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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