A solid ending.

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ILLUSION

From the Heirs of Watson Island series , Vol. 3

The conclusion of the magical, Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island trilogy.

Barrie (white), Obadiah (black, with some Cherokee heritage), and Cassie’s (white) attempt to lift the Colesworth curse (and the Beaufort binding) has failed. Because of her deceptions, Barrie is also estranged from love interest Eight (white). The tormented spirits behind the curse—Obadiah’s enslaved ancestors—threaten to emerge as energy-sucking dangers, driven mad by the crimes committed against them. And the blowback caused by the curse is still harming their present-day descendants. In order to give peace to the supernatural entities and freedom to the human players, Barrie must examine every preconceived notion she has, especially the ones she didn’t realize she carried. This is especially true when she realizes how many negative Native American stereotypes she has accepted without question from incorrect stories (such as the nature of the yunwi), revelations that leave Barrie feeling deeply ashamed. (Lengthy backmatter provides additional fact-versus-fiction information, and sources are included in the acknowledgments.) By contrast, Cassie’s character arc is rockier, as she fights against accepting responsibility for her own greed and entitlement (and her family’s monetization of slavery—restoring its relics as a tourist trap and Gone with the Wind performances in front of the plantation ruins—is firmly rebuked). While the pacing is sometimes slow and occasionally repetitive, the story thoroughly weaves the four principal families together to a resolution that settles all storylines.

A solid ending. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1128-8

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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