A sprightly, original story with good twists.

THIRTEEN DAYS OF MIDNIGHT

From the Thirteen Days of Midnight series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Luke has no idea what he’s in for when he inherits his dad’s Host of malevolent ghosts.

Luke hasn’t seen his dad, host of a TV show about the paranormal, for years. As the book opens, he learns about his father’s death and his inheritance of some £4 million. In order to receive the money, he must sign a strange agreement written in Latin on vellum. He also receives his dad’s chaotic papers and an ancient green book that he can’t open. Soon Luke meets the Vassal and the Judge, two of the eight-strong Host of ghosts that his father enslaved as a powerful necromancer. Luke wants simply to free them but learns that’s not an option. Enter the Shepherd, bound as one of the Host but an ancient necromancer himself, who knows how to use the green book and aims to trick Luke into giving up what little power he has. Luke teams up with Elza, a bookish local girl with second sight, and together they do their best to decipher the notes and use the green book before Halloween, when the Host ghosts will become powerful enough to kill Luke. Hunt keeps tension high but balances it with humor, including a wonderful short episode written from a dog’s point of view. The northern English setting adds atmosphere, and Luke’s narration is both disarming and amusing.

A sprightly, original story with good twists. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7865-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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

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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

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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