A boy-loves-boy dystopian fantasy for anyone needing a heartbreaking thrill.



A genetically engineered boy struggles to survive a dystopia and win over the boy he adores.

Nate was manufactured to be a commodity. When lung-rot threatened the upper echelon of Gathos City, GEMs (Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue) like Nate were bioengineered for their restorative blood. Nate’s parents refused to let the privileged class vampirically use him, and they smuggled him out of Gathos—dying in the process. Liberated but orphaned, Nate faces other threats: GEMs die without a special remedy, and a street gang hunts GEMs to harvest them. So Nate conceals his genetics for self-preservation and to prevent the merry band of misfits he lives with from being accused of unwittingly harboring him. Plus, the head of those misfits, Reed, is the most beautiful boy Nate has ever wanted to kiss. Grit, grime, and steampunk tinkering define a landscape that could easily serve Oliver Twist or Blade Runner. Acts of terrorism, conflicting castes, and meals of rotted fruit underscore the struggle. But there’s beauty in the connectivity Nate’s band of friends find in surviving together. This is a dystopian labyrinth leading to love, with minotaurs in the form of murder, drug fiends, and the raw need to survive. Nate has golden-brown skin, love interest Reed has dark-brown skin, and their friend Sparks is cued as trans.

A boy-loves-boy dystopian fantasy for anyone needing a heartbreaking thrill. (Fantasy. 14-17)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63583-056-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Did you like this book?

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Best leave it at maybe so.


Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet