A series stand-alone that won’t disappoint Turner aficionados

THICK AS THIEVES

From the Queen's Thief series

A slave escapes across the wilderness and cities of the Mede empire with an enemy soldier.

Kamet is proud to be the enslaved secretary to Nahuseresh, former ambassador to Attolia. He must endure his master’s moods and is sometimes badly flogged, but he will one day belong to the emperor’s heir and will become exceedingly powerful. Still, even a respected slave is no freeman; when a fellow slave tells Kamet that their master’s been poisoned, he flees the household to avoid inevitable torture and slow death. He joins a young Attolian soldier who claims to be on a mission from his king and promises Kamet his freedom. Kamet has every intention of escaping from the Attolian, but a deep affection grows as they survive elite imperial forces, slavers, near starvation, and even aggressive dogs. Their journey and friendship parallel that of Immakuk and Ennikar, legendary Mede heroes who evoke Gilgamesh and Enkidu in this Persian-feeling empire. This series fifth can stand alone without reading the rest of the books, although brown-skinned Kamet and the light-skinned Attolian are previously introduced characters. Kamet’s growth as this loyal slave develops self-reflection is first-rate. As with Turner’s other Attolia books, this invites an older audience, but the perilous journey, character growth, and understated affection of shield brothers offer more teen appeal than the political drama of earlier Queen’s Thief novels.

A series stand-alone that won’t disappoint Turner aficionados . (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256824-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

THE WAY I USED TO BE

In the three years following Eden’s brutal rape by her brother’s best friend, Kevin, she descends into anger, isolation, and promiscuity.

Eden’s silence about the assault is cemented by both Kevin’s confident assurance that if she tells anyone, “No one will ever believe you. You know that. No one. Not ever,” and a chillingly believable death threat. For the remainder of Eden’s freshman year, she withdraws from her family and becomes increasingly full of hatred for Kevin and the world she feels failed to protect her. But when a friend mentions that she’s “reinventing” herself, Eden embarks on a hopeful plan to do the same. She begins her sophomore year with new clothes and friendly smiles for her fellow students, which attract the romantic attentions of a kind senior athlete. But, bizarrely, Kevin’s younger sister goes on a smear campaign to label Eden a “totally slutty disgusting whore,” which sends Eden back toward self-destruction. Eden narrates in a tightly focused present tense how she withdraws again from nearly everyone and attempts to find comfort (or at least oblivion) through a series of nearly anonymous sexual encounters. This self-centeredness makes her relationships with other characters feel underdeveloped and even puzzling at times. Absent ethnic and cultural markers, Eden and her family and classmates are likely default white.

Eden’s emotionally raw narration is compelling despite its solipsism. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4935-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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