This hard-to-put-down novel takes on grim topics unflinchingly but also gives readers hope that honesty and kindness will...

THE QUIET YOU CARRY

From the Quiet You Carry series , Vol. 1

To her confusion, 17-year-old Victoria is ripped from her father and stepmother’s home in Reno by Child Protective Services in the middle of the night.

Placed in foster care, she must focus on completing high school and applying for college while wrestling with whether to share the truth of what happened that night with anyone. It’s clear from early on that Victoria’s father accused her of making sexual advances on him, but what is not clear and helps create suspense is why her father now wants her out of his life and whether Victoria will come to terms with the psychological damage from her abuse that initially leads her into denial. At first Victoria tries to keep her foster care status a secret at school, but circumstances make this increasingly difficult. She then starts to consider the danger her 14-year-old stepsister might still be in. Debut novelist Barthelmess has written multifaceted characters that are believable, particularly Victoria, her strict foster mother, and her troubled foster sister, Jamie. Slightly less believable, because they are unfailingly kind, understanding, and wise, are Victoria’s new friend Latinx Christina (the sole character of color) and her love interest, a boy named Kale. Victoria’s first-person voice is strong and appealing, and her story is a positive addition to the sparse YA literature on foster care.

This hard-to-put-down novel takes on grim topics unflinchingly but also gives readers hope that honesty and kindness will prevail. (resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63583-028-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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