AFTER MIDNIGHT

From the Youngbloods series , Vol. 1

Viehl (Dreamveil, 2010) marks her debut for teens with this, the first in a trilogy. Trick Youngblood aims to settle with his younger siblings, Cat and Gray, in Lost Lake, Fla. Cat is glad, especially after she learns, no thanks to her brothers, that the farm is an inheritance from her late parents, about whom she knows little. This is one of many secrets her brothers are keeping. Cat has one, too: Jesse Raven. Inexplicably drawn together, they meet nightly, with Jesse braving the garlic-laden, iron barb wire surrounding the farm (“pest control” according to Trick). Predictably, when their families uncover the bond, they conspire to keep Cat and Jesse apart. Readers will identify with never-been-kissed Cat, who narrates the story. Jesse, while romantic, is strangely lifeless, as are many of the characters. An eternity passes before Cat realizes that Jesse is a vampire, and the revelation of Cat’s lineage (part Van Helsing–part vampire) is anticlimactic. Instead, the action depends on a bullying episode at school, which spins on an anachronistic portrayal of a mentally ill classmate. Several threads are left unexplored, such as the inbred abilities of the siblings and the bad blood between the clans—all, no doubt, to be revealed in future books. The youngest Twilight fans with a taste for chaste romance will devour this; others will find their hunger unsated. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2632-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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