GALLOWS HILL

A sloppy suspense novel—Duncan (Night Terrors, 1996, etc.) unsuccessfully charts a plot full of witchcraft, ESP, reincarnation, book-burning, and fortune-telling, as well as an utterly incredible chain of events. When Sarah's mother inexplicably falls in love with Ted, a tyrant, she gives up her job and home so they can move to his small town. Since he is separated from his wife, Sarah's mother is the ``other woman'' in a Peyton Placestyle community where it is nearly impossible for Sarah to make friends. When she poses as a fortune-teller at a school carnival, Sarah actually sees the future in her crystal ball, an ability that results in the widespread suspicion that she is a witch. With a heavy hand, Duncan draws parallels to the witchcraft trials of 17th-century Salem. When Sarah faces hanging at the hands of a drunken mob of kids, Charlie—son of a bookseller whose store was torched for selling ``books that people didn't approve of''—saves her by convincing his classmates that they were all in Salem in a past life, and need to put it behind them. In addition to such implausible scenes, some subplots simply trail off, teenagers sound like adults, and too many characters are suddenly versed in witchcraft. Readers are repeatedly informed that the town is ``conservative'' and churchgoers are uniformly hypocritical. Bleakly shallow. (further reading) (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-385-32331-X

Page Count: 221

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1997

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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ECLIPSE

From the Twilight series , Vol. 3

It’s the countdown to graduation and immortality for Bella, since the events of New Moon (2006) have convinced boyfriend Edward to let her join him in vampirism. While Bella desires only to leave this mortal coil, Edward wants her to try college and marriage first. Bella knows that becoming a vampire will forever sever her ties to best friend Jake, who’s a werewolf and therefore an ancient racial enemy of all things vampiric. Luckily—and predictably—a gathering of bloodthirsty, vengeful vampires is headed straight for Bella. To protect her, the vegetarians of Edward’s vamp coven need to stop trading racial epithets with the werewolves and work with them, instead. Bella wants the villains to be defeated so she can return to her everyday life of high school, anticipating immortality and fighting Edward’s determination to avoid premarital sex. Unsettling racially charged characterizations are offset by messages of overcoming difference and working together. Fans of Bella’s angst-drenched love triangle will gobble this entry up, and the open-ended conclusion paves the way for Jake’s story to come. (Fantasy. YA)

None None

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-16020-9

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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