Late solaces—the escape, the abbey’s founding, one partnership between women—can’t outweigh the toll of misogynistic torture...

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From the Red Abbey Chronicles series , Vol. 2

A man harnesses a spiritual power and uses it to destroy women.

This prequel about the founding of the all-female abbey of Maresi (2017) begins across the sea. Kabira’s 19; Iskan, the vizier’s son, visits her family regularly, but is he courting Kabira or her sister? In this wealthy, formal, Asian-esque fantasy culture, there’s no way to know. Kabira shows Iskan—who’s an irredeemably vile antagonist at the level of King Leck in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling Realm—a spring called Anji that holds “the primordial life force.” Iskan drinks Anji’s water and never looks back. He kills Kabira’s family, marries her, rapes her continually, aborts her daughters, and steals her sons. As decades pass, Iskan acquires new women (buying them as slaves, stealing them from other cultures; their religions and gifts vary). Each narrates in first person. He rapes and batters them, drinking more and more of Anji’s water; he lays waste to masses of people. The prose flows, elegant and smooth, with colorful settings. Turtschaninoff writes mothering-related trauma searingly but underemphasizes rape trauma despite the constancy of the act; inexplicably, the word “rape” never even appears. The women’s skin colors and cultures vary, though the darkest-skinned woman is exoticized.

Late solaces—the escape, the abbey’s founding, one partnership between women—can’t outweigh the toll of misogynistic torture in this heavy piece. (maps, character list) (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2555-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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

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Only marginally intriguing.

REDEMPTION PREP

In a remote part of Utah, in a “temple of excellence,” the best of the best are recruited to nurture their talents.

Redemption Preparatory is a cross between the Vatican and a top-secret research facility: The school is rooted in Christian ideology (but very few students are Christian), Mass is compulsory, cameras capture everything, and “maintenance” workers carry Tasers. When talented poet Emma disappears, three students, distrusting of the school administration, launch their own investigation. Brilliant chemist Neesha believes Emma has run away to avoid taking the heat for the duo’s illegal drug enterprise. Her boyfriend, an athlete called Aiden, naturally wants to find her. Evan, a chess prodigy who relies on patterns and has difficulty processing social signals, believes he knows Emma better than anyone. While the school is an insidious character on its own and the big reveal is slightly psychologically disturbing, Evan’s positioning as a tragic hero with an uncertain fate—which is connected to his stalking of Emma (even before her disappearance)—is far more unsettling. The ’90s setting provides the backdrop for tongue-in-cheek technological references but doesn’t do anything for the plot. Student testimonials and voice-to-text transcripts punctuate the three-way third-person narration that alternates among Neesha, Evan, and Aiden. Emma, Aiden, and Evan are assumed to be white; Neesha is Indian. Students are from all over the world, including Asia and the Middle East.

Only marginally intriguing. (Mystery. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266203-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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