A tale of monsters—mortal and mythical—that intersects with the previous installment but offers no happily-ever-after...

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THE SLEEPING PRINCE

From the Sin Eater's Daughter series , Vol. 2

A sensible young woman runs afoul of fairy-tale figures in this high-fantasy sequel set in a typical, white, medieval-ish kingdom.

For four months, Errin Vastel has struggled to live in the rough-and-tumble town of Almwyk, dodging the attentions of an unctuous official, supplying the mysterious Silas with potions and poisons, and keeping her mother locked up and drugged. With her father dead and brother, Lief, missing, Errin longs for her former life as an apothecary’s apprentice in Tremayne but attempts to care for her mother, first mad with grief, now possibly morphing into a monster. Haunted by erotic, enigmatic dreams, Errin looks for companionship from Silas, but the always-hooded smuggler has his own agenda. Even fairy tales cannot comfort her, for the mythical Sleeping Prince—a man or god or alchemist whose origins are repeatedly but never definitively explained—has woken, killing King Merek, razing religious houses, and sending forth his army of golems and traitorous men. When Errin blackmails Silas into helping her escape, she instead falls deeper into a plot involving the Sleeping Prince, a religious fugitive, and a long-hidden colony of alchemists. In this second volume in the trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter (2015), Salisbury delivers another complex protagonist, torn between science and magic and intent on survival but often overwhelmed with grief and guilt. Readers will be grateful for the map that helps them locate the many fantasy places that pepper the book.

A tale of monsters—mortal and mythical—that intersects with the previous installment but offers no happily-ever-after conclusion. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-92127-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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