An ominous, relevant, and uniquely compelling read.

READ REVIEW

SNOWFLAKE, AZ

Ash travels to the desert highlands of Snowflake, Arizona, to look for his older stepbrother, Bly, who has disappeared to this rural enclave for reasons unknown.

Ash, 18 and assumed white, succeeds in finding Bly, but what he discovers in Snowflake keeps him there far longer than expected, and for reasons he couldn’t have predicted. Here he finds an odd community of white, mostly middle-aged misfits who are all sick, their bodies ravaged by chemicals ubiquitous to daily life. The canaries, as they call themselves, are a warning of what is to come to broader society, yet their suffering is dismissed by the medical establishment. To survive, they’ve created a community of mutual care far from the toxins of city living. The novel turns the post-apocalypse genre on its head, forgoing extremes to instead focus on the subtleties of pre-apocalyptic days. It takes time to sink into Sedgwick’s (The Monsters We Deserve, 2018, etc.) odd cadence, which may put off some readers, but the payoff for those who push through is tremendous. Expert foreshadowing pulls readers along to unavoidable disaster; when the blows arrive, they land with a visceral punch. Sedgwick’s restraint is remarkable, and he achieves something special with the raw, vulnerable humanity he reveals through these characters. Their relationships are deep yet fraught; their suffering and humor equally sincere.

An ominous, relevant, and uniquely compelling read. (author’s note) (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-324-00441-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

A creative and compelling read.

A NEON DARKNESS

From the Bright Sessions series , Vol. 2

Robert can manipulate others—but he doesn’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.

Following The Infinite Noise (2019), this Bright Sessions book tells the origin story of Damien, ne Robert, one of the podcast’s antagonists. When the book opens, Robert is an 18-year-old high school dropout and White boy with no family but all the material resources he could ever need. He has the power to make people do what he wants, or more accurately, to want the same things he wants. After arriving in Los Angeles, he falls in with a slightly older group of Unusuals with various powers who take him under their wing. Shippen combines an exciting plot with diverse characters—such as Neon, who is Black and queer, and Indah, who is Indonesian, Muslim, and lesbian—who defy stereotypes. As the group tangles with a shady organization that has kidnapped their friend, they also realize that the affection they feel for Robert might not be real. Robert’s emotional arc is interesting and unusual—he wants to be a good person, but he is selfish, manipulative, and unwilling to change. He is sympathetic while also being pitiful and contemptible and far too uncool to be an antihero. This may be the best Bright Sessions content yet as well as an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with this world.

A creative and compelling read. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-29754-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more