Readers captivated by the setting may enjoy this novel-length setup; they will hope for more plot in the next installment.

THE RING AND THE CROWN

From the Ring and the Crown series , Vol. 1

The lives of five teens intersect in turn-of-the-20th-century London, the capital of the Franco-British Empire.

Aelwyn Myrddin, daughter of the Merlin, the magical power behind the throne, has just returned from exile in Avalon. Princess Marie-Victoria, sickly daughter of the 150-year-old Queen Eleanor, reluctantly awaits her marriage to Leopold, Kronprinz of Prussia and wielder of the magical weapon that brought the mighty empire to its knees. Wolf—short for Wolfgang—Leopold’s rapscallion younger brother, has just boarded the Saturnia, on his way to London from New York. Ronan Astor, beautiful scion of the impoverished colonial family, is also on the Saturnia, hoping to snag a rich, titled lord. And Isabelle de Valois, whose family would rule France had the British not defeated the witch Jeanne of Arkk 500 years earlier, heads across the channel to salvage her engagement to Leopold. Intrigue and heartbreak ensue. De la Cruz effectively plaits real-world history together with what-ifs both magical and political to create a fizzy period soap opera. So much attention has been spent on worldbuilding, in fact, that the actual plot takes forever to start and then resolves both abruptly and all too conveniently. Moreover, incompletely explained inconsistencies with regard to the length of Aelwyn’s exile will drive some readers crazy.

Readers captivated by the setting may enjoy this novel-length setup; they will hope for more plot in the next installment. (Historical fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5742-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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Summery fun and games with feeling.

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN RULES

A summer trip helps break 18-year-old Meredith Fox out of a haze of mourning.

Her cousin’s wedding means a return to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-loved destination but one filled with bittersweet memories. It’s been a year and a half since the sudden loss of Meredith’s sister, Claire, and the grief remains strong. Meredith, though, resolves to take this time to celebrate family and bridge the rifts resulting from ghosting friends. She didn’t plan on a meet-cute/embarrassing encounter with the groom’s stepbrother, Wit. Nor did she expect a wedding-week game of Assassin, a water-gun–fueled family tradition. What starts off as a pact of sharing strategic information with Wit grows into something more as the flirting and feelings develop. Only one person can win, though, and any alliance has an expiration date. To win and honor Claire, who was a master of the game, Meredith must keep her eye on the prize. Taking place over the course of a week, the narrative is tight with well-paced reveals that disrupt predictability and keep the plot moving. Early details are picked back up, and many elements come satisfyingly full circle. The short time frame also heightens the tension of this summer romance: What will happen when they leave the bubble of the Vineyard? The mix of budding romance, competitive hijinks, a close-knit circle, as well as dealing with loss make for a satisfying read. The main cast is White.

Summery fun and games with feeling. (family tree) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-029-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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