A paranormal Southern gothic with decadent settings, mysterious magic and family histories rife with debauchery for patient...

COMPULSION

From the Heirs of Watson Island series , Vol. 1

After the death of Barrie Watson’s heavily scarred, shut-in mother and her beloved godfather’s terminal cancer diagnosis, Barrie’s sent from San Francisco to her aunt’s South Carolina plantation home.

The first clue Barrie gets that something’s off is the revelation that even her mother’s twin, Pru, believed Barrie’s mother had died in the same fire that killed Barrie’s father before Barrie was born. But abnormal’s routine for Barrie—she’s inherited the Watson gift, a magical ability to find things. While settling in, she learns the gift’s history and its entanglement with the town’s other two other founding families, the Beauforts and the Colesworths. Privateers, Cherokee witch ghosts and voodoo collide in the mythology Barrie untangles while discovering why her mother left and her own role as a scion of two families: Her Watson mother ran away with a cursed Colesworth. Barrie’s Colesworth connection gives her a charismatic new cousin she wants to trust and an uncle she definitely doesn’t. There’s also a handsome Beaufort possessing his own family gift, but the romance’s forced. Barrie’s a standard teen heroine—clumsy, artistic and unaware of her beauty. The first, molasses-slow act lingers on lavish, Spanish moss–filled derelict plantations and location-specific details (like Cheerwine)—once things start happening, though, even darker family secrets are unearthed, heightening suspense.

A paranormal Southern gothic with decadent settings, mysterious magic and family histories rife with debauchery for patient readers. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1122-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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