At least this battle for survival has gore going for it.

READ REVIEW

THE LONERS

From the Quarantine series , Vol. 1

Lawlessness and violence erupt in a quarantined high school.

David Thorpe can't ditch school and his ex-friends on the football team because it's his epileptic younger brother's first day. That's the day a weapons manufacturer's biologically improbable virus reaches the school—a suspension-of-disbelief–necessary germ that infects teenagers but kills everyone else. However, the virus leaves teens as they leave puberty, taking their resistance but allowing them a chance to escape. Government technology tells the exact date a student will leave puberty and quarantine, just from a thumb on a scanner. Knowledge of this "escape date" undermines the novel's potential for claustrophobic tension. The breakdown into chaos and establishment of new orders (fierce fighting for resources dropped every two weeks) are mostly skipped over. The virus causes white hair, enabling cliques (Varsity, Geeks, Nerds, Freaks, Skaters, the Pretty Ones and Sluts) to dye their hair uniform colors for identification. David and the other outsiders must fight the strict caste system by forming their own clique. The female-dominated groups—Pretty Ones and Sluts—reflect a tiresome woman-as-commodity approach. The female lead and love-triangle anchor (fought over by David and his brother) only occasionally shows signs of personality and is offended but also "excited" by unwanted groping. Additionally, the major characters' voices are indistinguishable and the villain cartoonishly evil—characterization is generally ignored in favor of more gore.

At least this battle for survival has gore going for it. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-329-1

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.

CODE NAME VERITY

Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II.

In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war, but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place.

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5219-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more