Cleverly conceived and lusciously written.

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BONE GAP

A teenage boy wrestles against forces real and imagined in a small, rural town named Bone Gap.

Finn was the only one to witness the kidnapping of brother Sean’s beautiful girlfriend, Roza, at the spring festival. But when he looks at mug shots, all the faces look frustratingly similar. Meanwhile, a tall man with eyes like ice who demands her love traps Roza in an ever changing netherworld. But Roza is determined to find her way back to Sean and Finn’s backyard, no matter what the cost. Told from the viewpoints of multiple Bone Gap citizens, this inventive modern fable whimsically combines elements of folklore, mythology, romance and feminism. Finn starts out as a daydreaming cipher, but when he discovers he has a condition called “face blindness,” his vague character comes into sharp focus, and his mission to battle the tall man becomes clear. Both Roza and Finn’s love interest, Priscilla, develop over the course of the magically real journey into strong women to be reckoned with, while the secondary characters, including a sassy beekeeper, wise chicken farmer and self-aware horse, are charming and memorable. And if the transitions between reality and fantasy are a little rocky and the worldbuilding occasionally a little thin, it can be forgiven due to the sheer ambition of the refreshingly original plot.

Cleverly conceived and lusciously written. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231760-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional

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CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 1

Seventeen-year-old Zélie and companions journey to a mythic island seeking a chance to bring back magic to the land of Orïsha, in a fantasy world infused with the textures of West Africa.

Dark-skinned Zélie is a divîner—someone with latent magical abilities indicated by the distinctive white hair that sets them apart from their countrymen. She saves Princess Amari, who is on the run from her father, King Saran, after stealing the scroll that can transform divîners into magic-wielding maji, and the two flee along with Zélie’s brother. The scroll vanished 11 years ago during the king’s maji genocide, and Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, is sent in hot pursuit. When the trio learns that the impending solstice offers the only chance of restoring magic through a connection to Nana Baruku, the maternal creator deity, they race against time—and Inan—to obtain the final artifact needed for their ritual. Over the course of the book allegiances shift and characters grow, change, and confront traumas culminating in a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment. Well-drawn characters, an intense plot, and deft writing make this a strong story. That it is also a timely study on race, colorism, power, and injustice makes it great.

Powerful, captivating, and raw—Adeyemi is a talent to watch. Exceptional . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17097-2

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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