A well-written character study and thriller all in one.

ASK ME

A girl’s unwanted oracular powers mean she can’t make friends or even go out in public, as she cannot stop herself from answering any question she hears.

Aria, 17, is the latest in a long line of oracles, beginning with the original Erythraean Sibyl in ancient times. Her grandmother also was an oracle, although the gift—curse, as Aria sees it—skipped her mother. If she hears any question, from any source, even as she walks down her crowded high school hallways, she must answer, normally with a cryptic statement or rhyme. Telling unpleasant and unasked-for truths to anyone within earshot makes Aria a pariah, although popular Jade treats her with compassion. When Jade’s found murdered, Aria finds herself caught between Jade’s two boyfriends, Will and Alex, both suspects in the case. Warned away from each boy by the other, Aria, who can’t understand her own prophecies, nevertheless finds herself drawn to Will and tries to work with him to uncover the truth. Although readers probably won’t have too much difficulty in discerning who the real killer might be, Pauley keeps the pages flipping. She paints a fascinating portrait of Aria, both her insecurities and eventually her courage. By giving readers occasional glimpses into the mind of the killer, she raises the stakes for Aria.

A well-written character study and thriller all in one. (Paranormal suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61695-383-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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