The realistic mystery wrapped in an eerie supernatural atmosphere will appeal to fans of both genres

VENGEANCE

Mystery and horror genres collide when superstition and fear overcome a group of teen friends who begin blaming their recent misfortunes on a curse in this follow-up to Fracture (2012).

In friend Decker’s narration, Delaney continues struggling to understand her secret ability to sense when people are nearing death, a talent she believes is a curse, as in the previous book, it failed to help her actually prevent her friend Carson’s death. Meanwhile, Delaney’s friends inexplicably find themselves the targets of several acts of vandalism, which they eventually believe stem from a curse they must have unleashed when they saved Delaney from drowning. Though believing in a curse may sound far-fetched, in many ways, it allows these teens to escape reminders of their own mortality and to avoid the unpleasant idea that someone wishes to harm them. As the teens reinforce one another’s beliefs in the curse, the narration becomes increasingly paranoid, largely ignoring the ample evidence indicating that natural, rather than paranormal, explanations exist for the vandalism. In this way, Miranda cleverly leads readers down the same path of misdirection, encouraging them to anticipate a supernatural reveal, making the final uncloaking of the human villains more surprising. However, Delaney’s “death sense” remains largely unresolved, perhaps leaving room for another installment.

The realistic mystery wrapped in an eerie supernatural atmosphere will appeal to fans of both genres . (Suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3503-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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