An atmospheric, uneasy tale of survival.



From the Drowned series , Vol. 1

The world ends in water in this tense post-apocalyptic novel.

On the far-future island of Tides, eroding from chronic catastrophic floods, the survival of each of its 496 inhabitants depends on the relative importance of their jobs. The higher their status, the farther they stand from high tide at “formation”—when each citizen crowds onto a platform and prays not to drown. Coe, who lost her hand to sea monsters under mysterious circumstances, prays hard; her job as Craphouse Keeper will make her especially vulnerable when she turns 16 and loses the protection of childhood. When ineffectual King Wallow falls ill, rebellion rises, and Coe finds herself attendant to spoiled Princess Star. Coe’s friend, Tiam, is chosen as the next king. Love is a liability in cutthroat Tides, but Coe hates imagining him with Star. When anarchy breaks out, Coe must abandon rivalries to save Tiam and find safety in a secret mountain. Suspense rises with the water as characters reveal their flaws and loyalties, and key words—which only Coe can read, kind of—are obsolete riddles that engage readers’ attention until the answer becomes plain. Coe’s voice is tough but eloquent, saturated with the bleakness of Tides and her hopeless romance. Though the story fizzles under an unexplained major plot convenience, the briny yet hopeful ending arouses anticipation for the sequel.

An atmospheric, uneasy tale of survival. (discussion questions) (Post-apocalyptic romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-373-21122-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end.


From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 1

Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs.

The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true—but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs—gathered at flea markets and from collectors—nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel.

A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59474-476-1

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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