A hard-hitting thriller that misses the mark when it comes to emotional impact.

TABULA RASA

From the Tabula Rasa Saga series , Vol. 1

After her memories are surgically erased, one teenage girl fights to recover her identity during a brutal attack on the hospital she’s trapped in.

At a mysterious medical center tucked among snow-covered mountains, Sarah receives the tabula rasa treatment, or removal of all past memories, for severe PTSD. Orderlies hint that patients are either “victims” or “perpetrators.” Though Sarah remembers nothing of her past, including her appearance, she suspects she falls into the latter category. When a power outage interrupts her surgery, a figure in the darkness slips her three pills and instructions. Soon, the center is thrown into chaos as soldiers suddenly attack, and Sarah flees her room, taking up with a teenage hacker sent to retrieve information. As Sarah’s memories return in uncontrollable bursts, she pieces together her parents’ twisted fate and her role in an attempt to bring down a corporate empire, all while avoiding rampant gunfire and falling perilously in love. The action ramps up quickly and never slows, creating a thriller with made-for-movies imagery. Lippert-Martin attempts to draw Sarah as a tough-as-nails heroine, but a hokey love story undermines her gumption. The back story that should be a rewarding reveal instead reads as an excuse for the cartoonish villain’s rampage.

A hard-hitting thriller that misses the mark when it comes to emotional impact. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60684-518-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more