Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And dragons. And the end of the world.

SMOKED

From the Scorched series , Vol. 3

No one is immune to sacrifice and revenge, and sometimes even a vegetarian dragon can have a taste for blood.

In the third and final book of the Scorched trilogy, 16-year-old Trinity Foxx and her back-from-the-future beau, Connor, rescue Emmy the dragon from a government lab. Emmy, the brunt of aggressive experimentation, is now an unrecognizable husk of the majestic creature she used to be. What’s more, the telepathic connection between Emmy and Trinity has been severed. While Trinity struggles to reconnect with Emmy and restore the dragon’s dignity and vitality, Emmy’s secret is unearthed: she has two hatchlings. Are the adorable duo two tools to convince the world through social media campaigns that dragons should be admired and preserved? Or are they two ticking time bombs waiting to ignite an apocalypse known as The Scorch? In the multiple-narrator, nonlinear narrative, there is a heap of “if only I had done things differently” retrospection—a natural reaction when one glorious catastrophe after another (death, destruction, public outcries against dragons) occurs. But the fighting, biting, and fire breathing are less about violence and more about avenging wrongs and simply surviving. This final installment is about damage done despite Trinity’s efforts to prevent The Scorch, pronouncing that when you’ve been betrayed and broken, civility is off the table.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And dragons. And the end of the world. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8464-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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