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MORRIGHAN

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE REMNANT UNIVERSE

From the Remnant Chronicles series

A somewhat undeveloped labor of love that devoted fans may nevertheless enjoy.

A prequel to Pearson’s popular Remnant Chronicles trilogy.

She is Morrighan, a child of the Remnant. He is Jafir, a scavenger. In the turbulent landscape of a world reeling from some nameless calamity, their kind live as mortal enemies. But when their paths crossed as young children, Jafir spared Morrighan’s life, and over the years, their lives continued to intersect. Against all odds, they fall in love. Will outside forces tear them apart? Or will their love weather all storms, heralding a better future for their fractured world? There’s a poetic delicacy to Pearson’s prose and a liveliness to O’Hara’s beautifully detailed illustrations that mask the light treatment other aspects of the storytelling receive. The romance develops disconcertingly quickly relative to the book’s length and its prominence in the story as a whole; in contrast, the action doesn’t pick up until over halfway through. The inner lives and motivations of the leads, Morrighan especially, are not well developed, making it difficult to become invested in their stories, and supporting characters are uniformly nebulous. There’s a sense of a richly drawn world lurking beneath the surface, but its history and mechanics are rarely revealed, bolstering the impression that this is more dream than fleshed-out novel. Jafir is pale with blond hair and light blue eyes; Morrighan has wavy dark hair and appears to have light brown skin in the illustrations.

A somewhat undeveloped labor of love that devoted fans may nevertheless enjoy. (map, author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-86835-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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