A smoking triptych of time traveling, dubious double-crossing and enough dragons to sate the hungriest of gamers and fantasy...

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SCORCHED

Which came first? The dragon, the egg or the fiery destruction of life as we know it?

Sixteen-year-old Trinity Foxx adores her kooky grandfather, and after the tragic death of her mother, he’s the only family she has. This makes it all the more difficult to reprimand him for foolishly spending all of their limited cash on a supposed dragon egg. Before she can determine how to rescue both their home and the once-reputable West Texas museum they run from foreclosure, twin brothers with a long-standing Cain-and-Abel rivalry appear from the future. Both brothers are there to collect Trinity. Both want possession of the egg. Both want to save the world from an apocalyptic future via starkly different but equally menacing means. Whom can Trinity trust? Though the story is told in third person primarily from Trinity’s perspective, there are insightful passes of the baton to each of the dueling brothers and even a dragon. Refreshingly, there is no shying away from warranted violence and gore, and Trinity’s mentions of booze and boy-crazy flirtations only make her more likable and grounded in increasingly bizarre surroundings. In a book full of hits, the main misses are a dastardly villain whose creepiness could stand more page space and an ending so loose it practically forces readers to get the next book for closure. 

A smoking triptych of time traveling, dubious double-crossing and enough dragons to sate the hungriest of gamers and fantasy fiends. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8458-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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