Riverdale enthusiasts may appreciate this unnecessary literary adaptation.

GET OUT OF TOWN

From the Riverdale series , Vol. 2

Archie Andrews is on trial for murder, and his friends are determined to save him.

Cassidy Bullock and his friends terrorized Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica while they were spending the weekend in Shadow Lake, and when Cassidy is killed, Hiram Lodge frames Archie for it. Archie blames himself for ever getting involved in Hiram’s schemes, Veronica turns her back on her parents for the sake of love, Betty struggles to cope after learning that her father was the Black Hood serial killer, and Jughead becomes the new King of the Serpents biker gang after his father steps down. They attend a party at Reggie’s house, but distressing confrontations with others make them leave for Pop’s Chock’Lit Shoppe, where they decide to return to Shadow Lake to search for evidence to prove Archie’s innocence. Ostow’s (The Day Before, 2018, etc.) second Riverdale story offers a directionless plot that hints at future key points that are explored in the CW’s show. Through alternating perspectives, readers gain insight into characters other than the core four, including Reggie, who views Archie as his rival; Josie, who is focused on the success of the Pussycats; and Ethel, who is entranced by the mysterious Gargoyle King who promises happiness in exchange for her unwavering loyalty. With few physical descriptions, characters’ diversity is assumed to match the cast of the show.

Riverdale enthusiasts may appreciate this unnecessary literary adaptation. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28948-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A resounding success.

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CONCRETE ROSE

This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017).

The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones–esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn’t contain dragons or sorcerers, but it’s nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav’s a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father’s federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are “li’l homies,” lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys’ very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, “I ain’t as hard as my pops, ain’t as street as my pops,” but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav’s parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black.

A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284671-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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