The speed and tidiness of the ending may disappoint savvy readers, but this book may find an audience with those who can...

READ REVIEW

FIX ME

To what lengths would you go to see a good friend who can only be found in a drug-induced haze? One addict is about to find out.

When readers meet Penelope, the white teen has been using Fix, a (fictional) once-legal antidepressant and mood stabilizer, since she started hanging out with drug-addicted Rose, a brown-skinned Latina. Pen’s ready to stop, but Fix can be a hard drug to quit: it allows users to control their hallucinations, and for Pen this includes the ghostly hallucination Nate, a fairly regular visitor since her sister’s death a year before. Logically, Pen knows the dangers of Fix; she can see what Fix is doing to Rose and has read about the health problems associated with long-term use. But can she say goodbye to Nate? Meanwhile, girls are going missing, turning her friends and fellow users into suspects. Cronkhite does much well; she captures the “I need to stop but can’t” feelings of an addict beautifully as well as the feelings of peer pressure, isolation, and depression that often accompany teenage years. The Fix addiction, Nate, and the mystery of the missing girls come to a head in the third act, and this is where the book suffers. In a rush to tie up all of her plot threads, Cronkhite undoes much of the work that makes Pen’s story so believable and compelling.

The speed and tidiness of the ending may disappoint savvy readers, but this book may find an audience with those who can happily suspend disbelief. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63583-008-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more