From the Warning series , Vol. 2

An unambitious jumble of fuzzy logic and conveniently arranged outcomes.

Hoping to rescue those who fled Earth’s supposed destruction for a parallel universe, a teenager finds herself enmeshed in an ominously appealing techno-utopia in this duology closer that’s an updated version of 2017’s Contribute.

When Alexandra bursts through the interdimensional vertex, her news that everyone actually could go home again gets a mixed reaction—because (go figure) many human refugees are happy with the virtual nanoholocom paradise that mysterious rescuers known as the meritocracy have set up for them. In exchange, they promise that when they die, they will donate their brains to the collective network. (Star Trek fans: Insert “Resistance is futile!” here.) Lest many readers think this sounds like a good deal, Acevedo includes some unconvincing counterarguments, then stacks the deck by having the meritocracy turn out to be corrupt in some never really explained way. The rebel underground, meanwhile, plans a hack of the network in hopes of returning everyone to Earth. The author scales things down so that the whole refugee population seems about small-town-size, lessening the suspense over whether Alexandra will successfully reunite with brother Benji, main squeeze Dominick, and best friend Rita. Alexandra struggles with intense panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder. The cast’s racial makeup is indeterminate; Benji has a husband.

An unambitious jumble of fuzzy logic and conveniently arranged outcomes. (content warning) (Dystopian. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728268422

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023


From the Warning series , Vol. 1

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale.

A reissue of the 2016 novel published as Consider.

Alexandra Lucas and her boyfriend, Dominick, are about to start their senior year of high school when 500 vertexes—each one a doorway-shaped “hole into the fabric of the universe”—appear across the world, accompanied by holographic messages communicating news of Earth’s impending doom. The only escape is a one-way trip through the portals to a parallel future Earth. As people leave through the vertexes and the extinction event draws nearer, the world becomes increasingly unfamiliar. A lot has changed in the past several years, including expectations of mental health depictions in young adult literature; Alex’s struggle with anxiety and reliance on Ativan, which she calls her “little white savior” while initially discounting therapy as an intervention, make for a trite after-school special–level treatment of a complex situation; a short stint of effective therapy does finally occur but is so limited in duration that it contributes to the oversimplification of the topic. Alex also has unresolved issues with her Gulf War veteran father (who possibly grapples with PTSD). The slow pace of the plot as it depicts a crumbling society, along with stilted writing and insubstantial secondary characterization, limits the appeal of such a small-scale, personal story. Characters are minimally described and largely racially ambiguous; Alex has golden skin and curly brown hair.

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72826-839-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023


From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

A purple page turner.

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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