Simmons’ slow-building post-apocalyptic adventure and opposites-attract love story should satisfy readers who miss dystopian...

PACIFICA

In the year 2193, or 81 Post Melt, a president’s son and a pirate’s daughter reluctantly sail the treacherous seas to rescue a friend.

The future is grim: Natural catastrophes have resculpted the continents, and epidemics have wiped out half of humanity. What used to be inland Sacramento is now the coastal Noram City, the Alliance’s capital, where the wealthy “kanshu” live at a safe elevation and the struggling Shorelings below. To address resource shortages, the president has announced a Relocation Act, ordering 500 people (nearly all Shorelings) to a man-made island, Pacifica. The resulting riots bring together pirate-turned-smuggler Marin with president’s son Ross Torres, both 17, and his friend Adam Baker, son of the vice president. After Adam is abducted, Marin offers Ross her help—for a price. Although it suffers from uneven pacing, the twist-filled story does pick up, exploring a host of political, social, and environmental themes. The cast is ethnically diverse, and the characters’ English is peppered with Spanish, French, and Japanese. A thoughtful author’s note reveals that the story was inspired by her Japanese-American family’s internment during World War II and offers poignant historical context for readers who do not make this connection on their own.

Simmons’ slow-building post-apocalyptic adventure and opposites-attract love story should satisfy readers who miss dystopian romances. (author’s note, suggested reading) (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3663-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun.

STARSIGHT

From the Skyward series , Vol. 2

As if the threat of huge, raging monsters from hyperspace isn’t scary enough, hotshot fighter pilot Spensa Nightshade becomes embroiled in an alien empire’s politics.

On a desperate mission to steal hyperdrive technology from the crablike invading Krell who are threatening to destroy her beleaguered home colony on Detritus, Spensa, who is white, holographically disguises herself as a violet-skinned UrDail and slips into a Krell pilot training program for “lesser species.” The discovery that she’s being secretly trained not to fight planet-destroying delvers but to exterminate humans, who are (with some justification, having kindled three interstellar wars in past centuries) regarded in certain quarters as an irrationally aggressive species, is just one in a string of revelations as, in between numerous near-death experiences on practice flights, she struggles to understand both her own eerie abilities and the strange multispecies society in which she finds herself. There are so many characters besides Spensa searching for self-identity—notably her comic-relief sidekick AI M-Bot, troubled human friend Jorgen back on Detritus, and Morriumur, member of a species whose color-marked sexes create trial offspring—that even with a plot that defaults to hot action and escalating intrigue the pacing has a stop and start quality. Still, Spensa’s habitual over-the-top recklessness adds a rousing spark, and the author folds in plenty of banter as well as a colorful supporting cast.

Not quite the wild ride of Skyward (2018) but still great fun. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55581-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

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