A powerful novel from an exciting new talent. (Fiction. 14 & up)

THE ACCIDENT SEASON

Ghosts, secrets, and magic collide in this Irish author's astonishing debut.

For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Cara, her mother, and her 18-year-old sister, Alice, have dreaded the accident season. For a few weeks every autumn, horrible things happen in their family. "Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom." And sometimes people die, including Cara's father nine years ago. Since then she's gained a new ex-stepbrother, Sam (he stayed with them when his own father disappeared), and a new best friend, mystical Bea, somewhat callously, or so she thinks, abandoning Elsie, the friend who supported her during her childhood grief. Elsie still attends their school but has mysteriously gone missing. Only when they throw a Halloween party in a haunted house, inviting everyone they know to come as the people they are behind their everyday masks, do the secrets start to ignite. Elsie is worn out from trying to protect them all—and some of the accidents weren't accidental. Written in Cara’s voice, Fowley-Doyle's unflinching first-person narration conveys the impossible in prosaic, ordinary language that nonetheless sings: "I think of all the things our brains deny, all the memories they hide from us, all the secrets they keep." What emerges from the smokescreen is a moving portrait of a fractured family, knitting itself back together with courage and love.

A powerful novel from an exciting new talent. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42948-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A dark and enthralling journey.

VESPERTINE

In a land threatened by violent spirits, a girl with a haunted past unleashes an ancient entity from a holy relic and strikes a deal for the power to save her home.

Ever since the Sorrow, the dead no longer pass on peacefully. Without the intervention of the Clerisy of the Gray Lady, they roam as destructive spirits. Artemisia of Naimes, gifted with the ability to see the spirits, never intends to leave her convent, where the walls protect her from possession and (Lady forbid) social interaction. Her plans crumble when a group of possessed soldiers attack her home. Reluctantly, Artemisia unseals a legendary relic, binding herself to a revenant, an undead being with immense power. Untrained in controlling spirits and desperate to protect her home, she bargains with the revenant to help her. Amid escalating danger and an unfolding mystery, Rogerson unveils a grim and intriguing world with a rich, plot-relevant history inspired by late-medieval France. In addition to the White protagonist, the narration describes several secondary characters with brown skin; the revenant is identified as “it,” while human characters in this world adhere to a gender binary. Artemisia experiences dynamic character growth as her understandings of trauma, history, and morality shift. Although she remains socially avoidant, she learns to value friendship. A satisfying but open-ended resolution demands for the story to continue.

A dark and enthralling journey. (glossary) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7711-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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