An immersive, adventurous pleasure that improves on the first book.

STEEL TIDE

From the Seafire series , Vol. 2

Following Seafire (2018), Caledonia needs new allies in her continuing fight against Aric’s tyranny.

After being badly wounded, Caledonia wakes up in a camp of renegade former Bullets. Having shaken their forced drug addictions to Silt, they call themselves Blades and have built a small culture where consent is paramount. Caledonia’s convalescence with the Blades opens the door for more worldbuilding but soon is interrupted by Bullet hostility. Caledonia, who’s been eager to get back to sea, rallies the Blades in a scheme to steal a ship with a deal—they help her get a ship, and she’ll help them break the Net and escape Aric’s sphere of control. But a revelation intensifies her need to find her crew without delay. The fast-paced plot—packed with fight scenes, naval battles, and adventurous sailing—still manages to devote time to fleshing out the philosophies and agency of secondary characters as well as Caledonia’s struggles and growth as a leader of an unconventional coalition. Romantic storylines for the most part take a back seat in favor of more pressing survival concerns, though queer relationships are positively represented. Race’s only significance is descriptive—most characters are varying shades of brown, though some—like Caledonia—are white. The explosive finale breaks the fictional world’s status quo in a way that will have readers eager for the final installment.

An immersive, adventurous pleasure that improves on the first book. (Post-apocalyptic/science fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-47883-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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