Bisexual teen protagonists are rare enough to give some value to a middling entry like this one, but it’s best for...

ROUGH PATCH

A closeted aspiring figure skater struggles with friends, family, and relationships.

Keira’s Calgary high school isn’t a bastion of tolerance, but there’s a small clique of gay kids she could theoretically join if she revealed her sexuality. Sadly, she knows they’d never accept a “by-sex-you-all.” If she dates a boy, she’ll never get a chance with a girl; if she reveals her feelings for boys, the gay kids will think she’s a coward trying to seem “normal.” Plagued by crushes on boys and girls alike, Keira struggles with her best friend’s casual homophobia. After a secret relationship, revelations, and traumas, Keira encounters a resolution so cruel that it hearkens back to the era when queer teens in books for teens were always punished by novel’s end. The myriad concerns of this white ice skater’s life (as well as the aforementioned issues, Keira struggles with bullying at home and at school, money problems, and grade worries) threaten to overwhelm the narrative. Her supposedly all-consuming passion for figure skating is drowned by the surplus of topics and enthusiastic parenthetical asides and could be swapped with any other hobby with scarcely any noticeable change.

Bisexual teen protagonists are rare enough to give some value to a middling entry like this one, but it’s best for completists who’ve already read better choices, such as Hannah Moskowitz’s landmark Not Otherwise Specified (2015) . (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55152-681-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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

LEGEND

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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Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles.

A MAP OF DAYS

From the Peculiar Children series , Vol. 4

The victory of Jacob and his fellow peculiars over the previous episode’s wights and hollowgasts turns out to be only one move in a larger game as Riggs (Tales of the Peculiar, 2016, etc.) shifts the scene to America.

Reading largely as a setup for a new (if not exactly original) story arc, the tale commences just after Jacob’s timely rescue from his decidedly hostile parents. Following aimless visits back to newly liberated Devil’s Acre and perfunctory normalling lessons for his magically talented friends, Jacob eventually sets out on a road trip to find and recruit Noor, a powerful but imperiled young peculiar of Asian Indian ancestry. Along the way he encounters a semilawless patchwork of peculiar gangs, syndicates, and isolated small communities—many at loggerheads, some in the midst of negotiating a tentative alliance with the Ymbryne Council, but all threatened by the shadowy Organization. The by-now-tangled skein of rivalries, romantic troubles, and family issues continues to ravel amid bursts of savage violence and low comedy (“I had never seen an invisible person throw up before,” Jacob writes, “and it was something I won’t soon forget”). A fresh set of found snapshots serves, as before, to add an eldritch atmosphere to each set of incidents. The cast defaults to white but includes several people of color with active roles.

Not much forward momentum but a tasty array of chills, thrills, and chortles. (Horror/Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3214-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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