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

HEART OF ASH

From the Blood and Salt series , Vol. 2

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. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

THE NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SCANDAL AND SHIPWRECKS

From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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