OTHERKIN

From the Otherkin series , Vol. 1

Berry’s debut offers just the right combination of high-stakes exploits and steamy love scenes to keep readers up until the wee hours.

Sixteen-year-old Desdemona Grey has always felt a little “other.” Adopted when she was a baby, Dez doesn’t have a clue who or where her birth parents are or if they are even alive. To make matters worse, a crooked spine has kept her in a back brace for the last two years and ruined any hope she might have for a love life. But Dez didn’t have any idea just how “other” she was until a sudden rage transforms her into a tiger. Before she can even process the golden eyes staring back at her in the mirror, she is locked up in a cage next to a hot "shadow caller," who identifies her as a "shifter" and takes her to a school for others like her. He not only knows the secrets of her past but also holds the key to her future—and quite possibly to her heart. While Dez is certainly not your typical teen, the book is ripe with issues that will resonate with readers. From body image to friendship, first love and betrayal, the novel explores the truth that no matter who or what you are, there’s no escaping the politics of high school.

A page-turner. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7582-7691-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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An appealing spin on traditional fantasy elements.

WE HUNT THE FLAME

From the Sands of Arawiya series , Vol. 1

Threatened by the encroaching darkness of the Arz, the kingdom of Arawiya and its five caliphates can only be saved by an artifact that will restore magic to the land.

The caliphate of Demenhur is covered in snow where there once was sand, its people on the brink of starvation but for the efforts of the Hunter. Few know that the Hunter, able to navigate the cursed forests of the Arz, is actually 17-year-old Zafira, disguised as a man since women are perceived as tainted in Demenhur. Nasir is both prince and assassin, his targets the perceived enemies of his father, the tyrannical, abusive sultan. When Zafira is summoned to embark on a quest for the lost jewel, Nasir is sent after her, to take it and kill her. They are soon thrown together, first as enemies and then reluctant allies, by the secrets and whispers of an enemy who poses an even greater threat. Debut author Faizal paints a vivid world, inspired by ancient Arabia and its mythology, that will appeal to fantasy and romance readers as well as fans of the Assassin’s Creed video games. The prose is at times beautiful, at times awkward. Themes of morality and understanding others beyond stereotypes are present throughout, though some characters are not well-fleshed-out. Characters embody different physical characteristics, with humans ranging from pale to dark-brown skinned and various fantastical creatures.

An appealing spin on traditional fantasy elements. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-31154-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A celebration of Black teen love and the magic of possibility.

BLACKOUT

Six authors collaborate to create an interwoven story set during a blackout.

Unbearably hot temperatures in New York City cause a sudden blackout, simultaneously throwing plans into chaos and creating unexpected opportunities. Contributor Clayton, who is joined by YA superstars Jackson, Stone, Thomas, Woodfolk, and Yoon, was inspired by Covid-19 and the “metaphorical blackout” it has created for the world to initiate this project that embraces a wide spectrum of Blackness and sexuality. The characters’ final destination is a block party in Brooklyn with Jackson’s “The Long Walk,” a story about reconnecting exes told in five acts, serving as the overarching mechanism to connect the narratives. Stone and Woodfolk contribute queer love stories in “Mask Off” and “Made To Fit” respectively. Thomas’ “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” begins as a love triangle, progresses to a love quadrangle—and in the end is about self-love and discovery. Clayton’s story, “All the Great Love Stories…and Dust,” is set in the New York Public Library’s main branch and centers on best friends who may become something more. Yoon’s piece completes the novel with strangers finding love in a ride-share car in “Seymour and Grace.” Working together to deliver a fantastic mix of humor and romance, these authors offer something fun and lighthearted that is welcome during the continuing pandemic and that will bring joy long after it’s over.

A celebration of Black teen love and the magic of possibility. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-308809-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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