An action-packed, entertaining blend of space hijinks, humor, and romance.

THE DISASTERS

A diverse crew of space academy washouts cracks wise and kicks ass while racing against time to save Earth colonies from terrorists.

By the year 2194, space colonization is a fact of life, and future colony officers train at the Ellis Station Academy on the moon. Wannabe pilot Nax Hall is mortified at failing out of the program on his first day. When terrorists attack the station, Nax steals their shuttle to escape, along with three other Academy washouts: Rion, a rich black boy from London with an interest in politics; Zee, a blonde, athletic trans girl from Kazakhstan who’s skilled at medicine and surgery; and Case, a former child genius and tech prodigy with two moms (one Latinx, one Asian) who suffers from panic attacks. By the time they team up with Asra, a Bengali Muslim hijabi girl and talented hacker, they’ve been framed for the assault and have only days to save the colonies. As the five flee from planet to planet with terrorists on their tail, they build a believable friendship. The banter flows freely and the tension stays high while Nax contends with his growing attraction to both Rion and Case. The refreshingly normalized representations of Muslim, South Asian, trans, and bisexual characters enrich this appealing story.

An action-packed, entertaining blend of space hijinks, humor, and romance. (Science fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265767-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A slo-mo environmental disaster story.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES

Weather witches confront climate change in this fantasy.

Clara Densmore is her generation’s sole Everwitch and is unwilling to embrace her powers. Unlike the male and female autumn, winter, spring, and summer witches, whose powers peak during their respective seasons, Clara thrives year-round. At the Eastern School of Solar Magic in Pennsylvania, 17-year-old Clara shuns friendships and only does short-term flings, as her love can be lethal and has already killed her parents and best friend. Losing her powers seems like the selfless solution, but nonmagical shaders have pushed the planet too far with their environmental destruction. Seasonal witches are starting to die amid accelerated natural disasters—and only Clara can save the world. A budding romance with magical mentor/visiting botany student 18-year-old Sang Park from California helps Clara bloom. Redheaded, blue-eyed Clara is cued as White, and Sang is Korean American—but race, class, and other identity-related concerns are rarely a factor in this world. Debut author Griffin unfortunately fails to breathe new life into chosen one fantasy tropes—the obligatory villain, the unavoidable romance, the overly dramatic sacrifice—but excels at lush and lovely descriptions of nature and the weather and delivers a stern, if heavy-handed, message about environmental consequences of modern living.

A slo-mo environmental disaster story. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-942-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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