A cliffhanger ending will have readers clamoring for more.

SWEET 16 TO LIFE

From the Langdon Prep series

Chanti Evans is back in another episode of street-smart crime-solving in the Langdon Prep series.

This third entry keeps her efforts close to home in more ways than one. The story opens fast, with Chanti responding to a fire a few doors away. It doesn’t take much to alert her to the possibility that this episode is not what it seems. Despite her promises to her vice-cop mother, Lana, and the damage her investigations have done to her relationship with would-be love Marco, she gets deeply involved in her friend MJ’s troubles with her old gang. In between homework and friends, Chanti worries about arson and potential violence. As if this is not enough to keep a girl busy in the days before her 16th birthday, Chanti and her mother find their close relationship strained when Chanti’s long-absent father starts trying to contact them, resulting in more evasions by Lana about her parentage. Reid continues the snappy dialogue and clever storytelling of the previous volumes, and readers will detect real growth in Chanti as she works her way through her difficulties. There is a large cast to keep straight, and the crime itself is a bit complicated for a teen sleuth, but the secondary characters add nicely to the narrative, and there are times when Chanti’s insight is laugh-out-loud humorous.

A cliffhanger ending will have readers clamoring for more. (Mystery. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6742-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dafina/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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