Graceful. Searing. Haunting.

THE LOST MARBLE NOTEBOOK OF FORGOTTEN GIRL & RANDOM BOY

Trying to escape their broken worlds, two teens fall in love with devastating results.

The story begins with the first meeting between Random Boy and Forgotten Girl. They are never given proper names, and their labels indicate their template relationship—“insert your name here,” Jaskulka seems to invite readers. Forgotten Girl and Random Boy write their first-person free-verse poems in notebooks—this is the structure of the narrative—sharing their doubts, fears, hopes and needs as they fall in love and hope to erase the pain of their home lives. Readers learn that Forgotten Girl’s father has recently abandoned her, and Random Boy’s father physically abuses both Random Boy and his mother. Eventually the love between Random Boy and Forgotten Girl teeters into obsession and then worse. “As much as he loves / is as hard as he hits, / which makes the pain / reassuring / in a sick way.” Why Random Boy begins abusing Forgotten Girl and why she stays with him (ultimately getting herself out) is told with such complete believability that the descent seems almost foregone, given the wounds that each has brought to the relationship. Jaskulka’s narrative explores the hows and whys of an abusive teenage relationship with heartbreaking honesty, and her delicate touch renders the dark story even more powerful.

Graceful. Searing. Haunting. (Verse fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63220-426-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A sparkling new fantasy dulled by an unconvincing romance.

BONE CRIER'S MOON

From the Bone Grace series , Vol. 1

In a world where sirens must kill their soul mates for honor, one wants to do the exact opposite.

Bone Criers—Ferriers among the Leurress—guide the dead to their afterlives in Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’ Underworld, thus protecting mortals from their wrath. But to become a Ferrier, one must endure the rite of passage and sacrifice their amouré—one true love—to the gods. Ailesse, daughter of the Leurress’ matriarch, plans to kill her amouré immediately and avoid falling in love altogether. On the night she plays the bone flute to summon him, she meets Bastien—a boy thirsting for vengeance after witnessing his father’s death by a Bone Crier. After she is abducted by Bastien and his friends, her friend Sabine promises to rescue Ailesse, even if it means sacrificing animals and disobeying Leurress elders. Chapters alternate points of view, offering insight into the individual protagonists, but ultimately the characters are not well developed and are bound to the tropes Purdie (Frozen Reign, 2018, etc.) assigns them: Ailesse, an heiress who longs to please her obviously deceitful mother; Bastien, the predictable enemy-turned–love interest; and Sabine, the best friend who disappoints despite every opportunity to shine. The sudden appearance of a French dauphin during a messy climax sets readers up for another love triangle (the first involving Ailesse, Bastien, and his friend Jules). The cast is mostly white.

A sparkling new fantasy dulled by an unconvincing romance. (map) (Fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279877-0

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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