As tension rises among these sharply observed characters, this smart, edgy thriller taps into the college-angst zeitgeist,...

SIX MONTHS LATER

Chloe calls herself “the last slacker standing” but figures she’ll have all senior year to repair her tattered GPA. Instead, she wakes up to find six months have passed in which her world has changed beyond recognition—including herself.

She’s ratcheted up her GPA and achieved stratospheric SAT scores, thanks to the study group she can’t remember participating in. She’s shaken by the charged attraction she feels toward bad boy Adam, who shows up moments after she awakens in response to a call she doesn’t remember making. Meanwhile, her feelings for Blake Tanner—gorgeous, sought-after and evidently now her boyfriend—have morphed from infatuation to fear. For the first time ever, Chloe’s popular—but her best friend, Maggie, won’t speak to her. Like Chloe’s parents, the therapist she’s been seeing for her panic attacks seems confused by Chloe’s lack of enthusiasm for Blake and indifference to her stellar grades. The flashes of memory Chloe experiences with Adam are more troubling than confusing, but his warm presence is all she’s got. Richards’ use of the present tense is enormously effective here, one of the few novels in which suspense actively relies on readers’ immersion in the now.

As tension rises among these sharply observed characters, this smart, edgy thriller taps into the college-angst zeitgeist, where the price of high achievement might just be your soul. (Suspense. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8551-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS

From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more.

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THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS

A monster spreads madness through the streets of Shanghai.

It is the autumn of 1926, and Shanghai is poised at the brink of transformation. Foreign powers have carved out portions of the city for themselves; what remains is divided between two feuding gangs, the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai has returned home from New York City, wreathed in a reputation for ruthlessness and ready to step into her role as heir to the Scarlet Gang. Four years ago, a betrayal by the White Flowers heir, Roma Montagov, a young man of 19, led to the deaths of countless Scarlets, and Juliette is determined to avenge her gang. But when a lethal contagion strikes the city, targeting Scarlets and White Flowers alike, Juliette and Roma grudgingly agree to cooperate on an investigation in order to save their city. The slow-burning romance in this book takes a back seat to the gripping mystery grounded in immersive historical detail. Allusions to Romeo and Juliet are evident in names and specific scenes, but familiar themes of family, loyalty, and identity bear new significance in Gong’s inventive adaptation. Language is a tool wielded deftly by the multilingual characters, who switch easily among English, French, Shanghainese, Russian, and more, with Mandarin as the primary dialect for Chinese phrases. A strong supporting cast that includes a trans girl completes this striking debut.

A must-read with a conclusion that will leave readers craving more. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5769-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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