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THE GLASS SPARE

From the Glass Spare series

Only for those with spare funds or spare time.

A princess struggles to cope with newfound powers in DeStefano’s most recent venture.

Fifteen-year-old Wil, the white fourth child and only daughter of Arrod’s royal family, has always known her place within her family. As the final spare in her family’s lineage, she knows she doesn’t serve a great purpose for her family—unlike Owen, the heir, or Gerdie, the sickly alchemist/inventor. But everything changes for Wil when, in a moment of self-defense, she discovers a power she didn’t know she had: with any adrenaline rush, she’s able, with a Midas-like touch, to fatally turn any living thing into a gemstone. Realizing that she, like Gerdie, could become a pawn in her power-hungry father’s war games, she keeps her powers a secret—until she accidentally kills one of her brothers in front of their father and is promptly banished. But soon she’s kidnapped by a pair of rebels, including the enemy kingdom’s banished prince Loom, and they rope her into their assassination plot, while brown-skinned Loom worms his way into her heart. While the finale clearly leads to a sequel, uneven pacing and a distant third-person narration make investment in these fairly generic characters difficult. A choppy mix of fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk (curses and “paralysis bullets,” newfangled “electric carriages” and solar panels, dirigibles and “data goggles”) leaves the worldbuilding hazy, while classic themes of monstrosity and humanity, science versus magic go underexplored.

Only for those with spare funds or spare time. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249128-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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