A dark and exciting paranormal adventure that will keep patient genre fans up late.

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DREAMFIRE

From the Dream Walker Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Joshlyn is expert at entering and resolving others’ nightmares, but there’s a new and forceful evil plaguing the Dream world that even she can’t beat.

Dream walkers can die within others’ nightmares, but without their intervention, the balance between the Dream and the World will be disrupted with disastrous consequences. Josh comes from a long line of dream walkers, but she carries with her the responsibility of her boyfriend’s death. So when she’s assigned an apprentice, Will, on her 17th birthday, she balks at the responsibility and intimacy. Will proves to be a worthy partner, however, when a pair of evil, trench-coated men with completely black eyes and carrying gas masks invades the Dream universe, rendering dreamers comatose in both realms. As the plot deepens, Will and Josh barely have time to pay attention to their growing fondness for each other. It becomes increasingly clear that Josh’s role in the battle is her ultimate destiny as these black-eyed creatures cross the veil into the waking World. Alloway explores the complexities of dream-walking politics in detail, with the result that worldbuilding feels laborious rather than organic. Between this and a plethora of characters, the plot drags, but the nightmare vignettes are rivetingly chilling.

A dark and exciting paranormal adventure that will keep patient genre fans up late. (Paranormal romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-06366-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic.

WHEN WE WERE MAGIC

Getting through high school requires more than a little bit of magic.

On prom night, when Alexis accidentally kills Josh Harper, she panics and summons her five best friends—Paulie, Roya, Iris, Marcelina, and Maryam—for help. Alexis knows she can rely on them, not only because of their unshakeable friendship, but because of what they have in common: the ability to do magic. Attempting to make things right, the girls cast a spell but are left with a disconnected collection of Josh’s body parts, including a cold, glassy version of his heart. They divide them up and agree to dispose of what is left of Josh, piece by piece. Alexis insists on witnessing each body-part-releasing ceremony, in the process exploring her bonds with her friends—and, in one case, feelings that go far beyond friendship. But as their relationships strengthen, the spell takes its toll: Every time they lose a body part, the girls lose something too, forcing them to rethink how they define themselves and each other. This work of speculative fiction is a profoundly thoughtful exploration of female friendship, love, growth, and identity. The fully realized characters are diverse in ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity. While the final two-thirds of the book are beautifully paced, balancing introspection and character development with plot, the first third at times feels weighed down by explanation and backstory.

An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic. (Speculative fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3287-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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