Not to be read without its predecessors but not to be missed, either.

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DON'T LET GO

From the Don't Turn Around series , Vol. 3

Can hackers Noa and Peter survive long enough to take down evil pharmaceutical magnate Charles Pike?

Across the country teens are dying slowly of a mysterious disease known as PEMA, and Noa is pretty sure the experiments Pike’s scientists did on her against her will nearly a year ago had something to do with finding a cure. With hard drives full of encrypted, possibly incriminating evidence that they stole from Pike’s company, Pike & Dolan, Noa, Peter, Daisy and Teo have been on the run for over three months. Unlike some of the other activist former subjects, the foursome escaped the attack by Pike’s men in Santa Cruz mostly unscathed (Don’t Look Now, 2013). But Pike’s men always seem to find them no matter where they hide; Peter and Noa just need time to crack the encryption. As Pike’s men draw closer and Noa’s health starts failing, Peter and Noa seek the help of an uber-hacker named Loki in a last-ditch effort to get some leverage to force Pike to release what he knows about a cure. Gagnon closes her Don’t Turn Around trilogy with a suspenseful page-turner that will have fans cheering. The end may be a bit too tidy for reality, but the strong characters, detestable bad guys, action and humor make this a ride no thriller-lover should miss.

Not to be read without its predecessors but not to be missed, either. (Thriller.12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-210296-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Within the standard-issue teen romance is a heartfelt, wryly perceptive account of coming to terms with irrevocable loss...

TELL ME THREE THINGS

Jessie’s unassimilated grief over her mother’s death makes her dad’s abrupt marriage to Rachel, a wealthy widow he met online, and their subsequent move from Chicago to her mansion in Los Angeles feel like betrayal.

Rachel’s son wants nothing to do with Jessie. Her first week at his private school is agonizing. When she gets an email from “Somebody Nobody,” claiming to be a male student in the school and offering to act as her “virtual spirit guide,” Jessie’s suspicious, but she accepts—she needs help. SN’s a smart, funny, supportive guide, advising her whom to befriend and whom to avoid while remaining stubbornly anonymous. Meanwhile, Jessie makes friends, is picked as study partner by the coolest guy in AP English, and finds a job in a bookstore, working with the owner’s son, Liam. But questions abound. Why is Liam’s girlfriend bullying her? What should she do about SN now that she’s crushing on study-partner Ethan? Readers will have answers long before Jessie does. It’s overfamiliar territory: a protagonist unaware she’s gorgeous, oblivious to male admiration; a jealous, mean-girl antagonist; a secret admirer, easily identified. It’s the authentic depiction of grief—how Jessie and other characters respond to loss, get stuck, struggle to break through—devoid of cliché, that will keep readers engaged. Though one of Jessie’s friends has a Spanish surname, rich, beautiful, mostly white people are the order of the day.

Within the standard-issue teen romance is a heartfelt, wryly perceptive account of coming to terms with irrevocable loss when life itself means inevitable change. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53564-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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