Daddy issues aside, a creepy and compelling tale.

A COLD LEGACY

From the Madman's Daughter series , Vol. 3

The mad scientist’s daughter, Juliet Moreau, must flee or fulfill her diabolical biological destiny in the ghoulish series ender.

After releasing monsters to kill three members of the King’s Club, Juliet and her unhappy band of misfits seek refuge in Elizabeth von Stein’s Scottish sanctuary. Edward Prince tries to recover from his self-poisoning and to battle his inner Beast, while Lucy Radcliffe frantically seeks unorthodox methods to save her split-personality lover. Montgomery James and Juliet want to marry—much to the delight of the mostly female and mysteriously mutilated household staff—but both deny and fear that she may be taking up her father’s trade. Elizabeth invites Juliet to study Victor Frankenstein’s rules for reanimation, but even the spectacularly unsettling child-thing, Hensley, cannot dissuade Juliet from (impossibly advanced) scientific experimentation. While Juliet’s ad nauseam struggles over her inheritance may grate, her determination to redefine herself, defend her friends and destroy her foes is riveting. The story employs clichéd Gothic horror elements—castles, odd servants, a Romany girl, a windmill and a windswept countryside—and relies heavily on Frankenstein and The Island of Dr. Moreau, threatening to fall under its predecessors’ shadows. However, Shepherd (albeit anachronistically) addresses gender issues, English-Scottish politics, class divisions and medical ethics, ably intermixing them with horrific, romantic and comedic moments.

Daddy issues aside, a creepy and compelling tale. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-212808-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.

EACH OF US A DESERT

What does it mean to come into your own power by letting go of it?

The villagers of Empalme devoutly pray to Solís, the feared higher power who unleashed La Quema, or fire, on humanity for its ills of greed, war, and jealousy. As the village cuentista, Xochitl listens to and receives the villagers’ stories into her body, clearing their consciences, preventing the manifestation of their nightmares, and releasing them to Solís in the desert. Having diligently played this role since childhood, she is now a deeply lonesome 16-year-old whose only comfort comes from cherished poems. Worn weary by her role, she leaves on an odyssey in search of another way to exist. In their sophomore novel, Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. It is a world parallel to ours, rife with Biblical references and the horrific traps that Latinx immigrants face while seeking better lives. Xochitl’s first-person, questioning narration—interlaced with terrifying cuentos that she receives on her journey—is the strongest voice, although secondary and tertiary characters, both human and mythical, are given a tenderness and humanity. All main characters are Latinx, and queer relationships are integrated with refreshing normality.

A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden. (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-16921-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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