A multi-layered mystery with (mostly) rounded characters. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

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ALL YOU DESIRE

From the Eternal Ones series , Vol. 2

Haven Moore and Iain Morrow's Italian escape (The Eternal Ones, 2010) is cut short when a crisis pulls them back to New York City and into the orbit of the Ouroboros Society. 

While Iain had been taking Haven to historic sites to jar memories of the past lives she shared with him and her best friend Beau Decker, Beau makes some discoveries of his own courtesy of a hot guy on Facebook claiming to be his soulmate. But shortly after flying up to New York to visit his mystery man, Beau disappears, leaving only a cryptic text message for Haven. Despite the risk that Adam Rosier might find her—and learn that Iain is still alive—Haven and Iain hop a plane to the city so they can search for Beau. Incidental characters from the first novel are used to optimum advantage as a host of related subplots support the novel's tension. Adam transitions from blanket evil into a richer character and true enigma, even as ancient enemies of his secretly move against him. Haven finds herself needing him—and needing to get close to him—putting both her and Iain in difficult positions. The previous novel's witty narrative voice only returns for the last act of the story, slightly undermining the story line with the most at stake in a quick wrap-up.

A multi-layered mystery with (mostly) rounded characters. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up) 

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59514-323-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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