Next book

HEART OF ASH

From the Blood and Salt series , Vol. 2

The occasionally choppy narrative and underdeveloped relationships mark this for fans of Blood and Salt only.

Ash’s transformation into an immortal in Blood and Salt (2015) continues to lead her into both danger and romance.

In the first installment Ash learned that her family is descended from cult members questing for (and occasionally obtaining) immortality. Ash was also briefly possessed by the spirit of an ancient immortal who was seeking revenge on the spirit of her former lover, Coronado. Unfortunately, Coronado’s spirit took up permanent residence in Ash’s love interest, Dane. During this chaotic time, Ash’s twin brother, Rhys, disappeared. Now, a year later, Rhys’ unique blood is being used to assassinate immortals. Ash’s quest to locate Rhys lacks urgency due to her preoccupation with her relationship with Dane—even as murders unfold around her. Meanwhile, Dane claims he can resist Coronado’s attempts to completely control his body, which will undoubtedly sound dubious to readers long before Ash grows suspicious. Overall, Ash’s pattern of ignoring multiple warning signs about the perilousness of her own situation merely slows the pace of the inevitable reveals without adding much suspense. And the narrative also lags as characters rarely display the volatile combination of love and jealousy that supposedly has motivated them to commit atrocities against one another for centuries. Ash is depicted as white on the cover, and the book appears to adhere to the white default.

The occasionally choppy narrative and underdeveloped relationships mark this for fans of Blood and Salt only. (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-16649-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Next book

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Close Quickview