Put this one out to pasture. (Inspirational romance. 16-adult)

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THE GIRL WITH THE BROKEN HEART

Her heart problem is the least of the issues standing between Kenzie and love.

Kenzie Caine grew up as the pampered, privileged daughter of a well-known breeder of Tennessee walking horses. When she discovered her father and his trainer were abusing their horses to enhance their performance, Kenzie turned her back on her family—making her feel doubly guilty over the suicide of her younger sister due to bullying. Now, in the summer after her sophomore year of college, she’s working on a horse farm, rehabilitating rescue horses. Despite her heart condition, the result of a childhood bout with Kawasaki disease, she is fit and physically capable. Enter Austin Boyd, kicking off a series of clichéd moments and statements like “Fire from Kenzie was better than ice.” Kenzie struggles to let Austin in, afraid to risk her heart. She has a plan for her life—to become an equine veterinarian, not to fall in love. Yet her feelings for Austin keep growing stronger. Will learning the secrets Austin has been hiding make Kenzie put her walls back up? The trite romantic trappings aren’t helped by stilted prose that contains reams of exposition. Neither Austin nor Kenzie is a distinct character, due in large part to the frequent and clumsy point-of-view shifts. All characters appear to be white and living lives of privilege.

Put this one out to pasture. (Inspirational romance. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1948-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Few chills and even less logic.

BENT HEAVENS

Can Liv put the pieces of her life back together after her father’s mental breakdown?

In rural Bloughton, Iowa, Liv takes solace in the cross country team and the idea that she will be off to college before too long. Three years ago, her father, the high school’s former English and drama teacher, vanished only to return naked and talking about alien abduction. He disappeared for good eight months later. Liv and her friend Doug check the elaborate traps her father built in the woods during those eight months every Sunday. The teacher who replaced him decides to stage the same musical that was her father’s swan song, and after getting in trouble for an outburst over her insensitivity, Liv decides to destroy the traps…but discovers that one has caught an alien. After hiding the horrifying creature in her father’s shed, they discover it has her father’s compass. In anger, Liv attacks the beast and then she and Doug torture it repeatedly as revenge for her missing father…but the alien is not what they perceive him to be, and as the truth is revealed, the horror mounts. Kraus’ (Blood Sugar, 2019, etc.) newest horror fantasy (there is no science here) might inspire more anger than horror as the protagonists respond to otherness with violence. Outrage will likely be followed by laughter at the stagy, manipulative, over-the-top conclusion. Most characters seem to be white.

Few chills and even less logic. (Horror. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15167-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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