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AFTER DEATH

From the Blue Bloods series

Beyond climactic.

This follow-up to After Life (2022) completes the Blue Bloods series offshoot duology.

It’s been two months since Schuyler Cervantes-Chase and Jack Force stopped Lucifer from carrying out a plan to exterminate all mortal Red Bloods in Manhattan with a plague. However, Jack’s twin brother, Max, was captured, and their friend Kingsley Martin was killed. Jack went searching for Max, and Schuyler hasn’t heard from him since. Without her bondmate, she’s relied more heavily on Oliver Golding-Chang, her human Familiar and best friend, for emotional comfort. Her secret life as a half-blood vampire, one of the immortal Blue Bloods, is complicated enough on a regular day. But now there’s a new girl at school, Aoife Hayward, and her grunge fashion sense stands out from the crowd at exclusive Duchesne. She also catches Schuyler’s attention as a possible supernatural threat. Who—or what—could she be? Meanwhile, Jack and Max are dealing with different types of confinement. This volume brings the journeys of Schuyler and her true love, Jack, to a close (at least in this parallel universe) while still being accessible to readers new to this world. De la Cruz has added a lot of conceptual layers to this fictional world, and not everything is wrapped up neatly and tidily, but those who have followed the series will likely feel satisfied in seeing off these characters. The author once again delivers supernatural melodrama that’s both high-spirited and absorbing. Contextual clues point to some ethnic diversity.

Beyond climactic. (Paranormal. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 4, 2023

ISBN: 9781368067003

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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THE CHANGING MAN

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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THE LAKE

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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