The fun here is in getting to the silly resolution, not achieving it.

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DANGEROUS BOY

Danger threatens when Harper falls for the perfect boyfriend, maybe.

Harper can’t believe that sensitive, handsome Logan really wants her to be his exclusive girlfriend. She’s just a farm girl who doesn’t even wear makeup. But Logan sweeps her off her feet and seems to feel the same about her. When disturbing things begin to happen around town—birds fall, dead, from the sky, bloody bones turn up in mailboxes, red handprints cover students’ cars—no one can make any sense of it. Harper has her suspicions, however, once she meets someone she didn’t even know existed: Daemon, Logan’s identical twin brother. Daemon enjoys violence and deliberately frightens Harper. Harper grows more suspicious of Daemon when a sabotaged motorbike sends her to the hospital, and someone nearly kills her friend. She investigates and learns about some things in Logan’s past that he has hidden. Still, she’s so attracted to him, and he begs her so effectively to stay, that she continues the relationship, and that decision could lead to her death. Hubbard begins with an exciting, frightening chase scene then flashes back to tell the story in sequence. Astute readers will pick up on the solution to the mystery from miles away, but that only heightens the suspense, especially as they have already tasted that chase scene. The difficulty here is the cop-out, too-easy resolution: The author briefly presents an interesting, realistic scenario to explain the mystery but bows to current trends and pushes a nonsensical paranormal solution instead. What a shame.

The fun here is in getting to the silly resolution, not achieving it. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59514-511-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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