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Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

A dual-narrator novel explores the concept of forgiveness.

Budding poet Sarah is torn between two colleges: Mills, which has offered her a full scholarship, and the University of Washington, whose only appeal is Mr. Haddings. A grad student and poet-in-residence at her school, the charismatic Haddings has Sarah considering a change of plans, to the dismay of Sarah’s controlling mother. Haddings knows he needs to keep the relationship professional, but he’s having a hard time with that. Then, in a moment of distraction, Haddings hits Sarah with his car. Over the next three days, Sarah will cope with the pain, the accident and her worries about her future, while her family—oblivious father, brittle mother and immature brother—and her best friend try to help her. Haddings copes with his crushing guilt, usually making choices that make everything worse. Straining credulity, both Sarah and Haddings wonder if there might be a chance for them still, when the more important question is whether they can ever forgive. Plot events are sequenced poorly and depend far too much on coincidence for their effect; the dual narrative does not provide substantial additional insight, making it feel contrived as well. Stilted dialogue makes characters feel flat, particularly Sarah’s brother.

Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-7295-0-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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ARCADIA AWAKENS

From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake

When a Romeo and Juliet mobster romance just isn't enough.

A year after a terrible experience, 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara is leaving home. She's left Brooklyn for Sicily, where she will be joining her sister in the family business: organized crime. An unlikable petty thief, Rosa thinks she's prepared for joining Cosa Nostra. But there are reasons beyond the Mafia to fear her ancestral home. Her attraction to Alessandro Carnevare, the scion of a rival (and stronger) Mafia house, can only get her into trouble. Both the Alcantaras and Carnevares are hiding an unbelievable secret. Alessandro, like the rest of his family, has a feline form: a monstrous panther. Meanwhile, Rosa discovers that the Alcantaras transform into enormous snakes. The shapeshifting makes for a more deadly rivalry—or a more twisted romantic pairing. On top of everything else, there's a kidnapped mob schoolgirl, a murdered mother, an attempted coup, family betrayals, a tragic lesbian relationship and whispers of a conspiracy, all told in choppy, infelicitous prose. (It's possible the clunkiness of the prose may be laid at the feet of the unidentified translator from the German.) A smaller subset of plot threads might have allowed room for Rosa to grow into a more than just a survivor.

Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200606-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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