An intriguing first installment of a promising fantasy series.


From the The Lockwood Trilogy series

In Cassera’s YA fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy, a girl fights to uncover who she really is while a boy must repress his psychic powers to survive.

Natalie Covington and Henry Thorne are seniors at the elite Lockwood Academy, located on a private island on the Washington state coastline. Natalie hails from a wealthy family while Henry attends the school on a scholarship. Separated by social status and unlikely to connect, the two find their lives entwined following a ceremony in which Natalie’s boyfriend Jack Carter is sworn in as the student body’s president: When Henry appears distressed, Natalie runs to his aid, convinced he’s having a panic attack and appalled that no one steps up to assist him. However, when she approaches, Henry shoves her away, despite his immediate attraction to her. It turns out that he secretly has psychic, precognitive abilities, and his visions predict Natalie’s death: “An electric bolt pulses through my body and then I see… Natalie’s face—eyes wide in horror.She seems to be straining, trying to breathe.” Although precog support groups and family members forbid Henry from informing Natalie of her fate, another student precog named Wes Thompson challenges him to defy the odds, telling Henry a story about his brother, who successfully changed his girlfriend’s destiny. Natalie is drawn to Henry, and she embarks upon a quest to understand her deceased mother, herself, and her capabilities. Written in the first person, this contemporary fantasy novel alternates between Natalie and Henry’s perspectives, which effectively propels the plot forward. The narrative integrates themes of friendship, romance, and identity as it charts a journey to self-discovery characterized by strength, loyalty, and understanding in the face of evil. There are moments when prescribed gender roles impact the story; while Henry’s abilities take center stage, there is little foreshadowing about the fact that Natalie is also more than human. A more equitable presentation of Natalie’s budding superpowers and more extensive worldbuilding outside of Lockwood would enhance the story. Despite these flaws, the story is sure to whisk readers away from reality’s daily grind with its deft balancing of relationship plots and fantasy tropes.  

An intriguing first installment of a promising fantasy series.

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

ISBN: 9798987387801

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Mogul Scarf Productions, Inc.

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2023

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true.


A gut-wrenching look at how addiction affects a family and a town.

Emory Ward, 16, has long been invisible. Everyone in the town of Mill Haven knows her as the rich girl; her workaholic parents see her as their good child. Then Emory and her 17-year-old brother, Joey, are in a car accident in which a girl dies. Joey wasn’t driving, but he had nearly overdosed on heroin. When Joey returns from rehab, his parents make Emory his keeper and try to corral his addictions with a punitive list of rules. Emory rebels in secret, stealing small items and hooking up with hot neighbor Gage, but her drama class and the friends she gradually begins to be honest with help her reach her own truth. Glasgow, who has personal experience with substance abuse, bases this story on the classic play Our Town but with a twist: The characters learn to see and reach out to each other. The cast members, especially Emory and Joey, are exceptionally well drawn in both their struggles and their joys. Joey’s addiction is horrifying and dark, but it doesn’t define who he is. The portrayal of small-town life and its interconnectedness also rings true. Emory’s family is White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast, and an important adult mentor is gay. Glasgow mentions in her author’s note that over 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse; she includes resources for teens seeking help.

Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70804-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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