From the Firebug series , Vol. 2

Gruesome, snarky high jinks, with just the right amount of feels

Giant snails, terrified kelpies, and supernatural knitting: this is life for the teenagers running supernatural law enforcement in small-town Maine.

Even though Ava, Lock, and Ezra destroyed their evil old boss who ran the Coterie like "something out of a supernatural Goodfellas" in Firebug (2014), the Coterie hasn't gone away. Somebody still needs to make sure that magical people are neither exploited nor exploiters; that's Ava's job. Working for her new, strangely benevolent boss—Alistair even pays her for her work!—Ava and her two best buds take on investigative work for the Boston-based Coterie. Though they're still recovering from the events at the climax of the previous book, they are formidable. Ava, white, is a firebug who burns through most of her clothing as a side effect of doing her job. Ezra is stunningly gorgeous, amber-eyed, tan-skinned, and russet-haired, half Japanese and half fox. Lock, a pale-skinned half dryad, is the object of Ava's confused, angst-ridden affections. Though they've escaped the criminality of their old life, their work for Alistair is still chock-full of gory, nasty violence, complete with zombies, rabid werewolves, and magical creatures gone feral. With the help of humans, were-hares, and an adorable Doctor Who fangirl, they fight a plague that threatens them all. Brief cameos feature the characters of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (2010).

Gruesome, snarky high jinks, with just the right amount of feels . (Fantasy. 14-17)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9863-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017


From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019


Several yards short of a touchdown.

A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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