A fresh, suspenseful take on the robot apocalypse.


From the Crier's War series , Vol. 1

War brews between humans and their automaton overlords.

In a nigh-unrecognizable world, humans are kept as servants on large estates controlled by Automa, impossibly advanced creations who have recently seized power. The history of how artificial intelligence took over develops in interstitial chapters told by various historians while tensions rise in the present. Humans have various skin tones, including swarthy and brown, but racial categories don’t seem to matter in a world where the main axis of power is human versus Made. Crier is the daughter of Sovereign Hesod, who loves appropriating human culture while brutally oppressing the people under his rule. She is also betrothed to Kinok, an Automa with more separatist beliefs toward humans as well as a plan to make him and his kin invulnerable. Meanwhile Ayla, a human girl who lost her family to Automa violence, takes a job as Crier’s handmaiden in an attempt to take them down from the inside. Dizzying political machinations intertwine with a burgeoning romance between mistress and servant, especially since Crier suspects that she was built with a capacity for love that her kind shouldn’t have. The plot zooms ahead despite being a setup for the sequel, with nail-biting sexual tension between Crier and Ayla—queerness is unremarkable in this world but cross-species relations are unthinkable.

A fresh, suspenseful take on the robot apocalypse. (map, timeline) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-282394-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.


An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development.


A romance with solid queer representation set against the backdrop of an Alabama Christian school.

Chloe Green is the only one who sees through Shara Wheeler’s goody-two-shoes act, and now that Shara’s pulled a disappearing act right before being crowned prom queen, she makes it her business to find her. This means teaming up with unlikely allies like Smith Parker, Shara’s jock boyfriend, and Rory Heron, the brooding boy next door, both in love with Shara, just as Chloe claims she is not. What brings the trio together is a series of notes Shara has left them, along with the awkward fact that she kissed all three of them before vanishing. McQuiston’s YA debut starts off as a fun page-turner with a rich cast of queer characters but ultimately disappoints with its predictable plot twists and protagonists whose journeys feel lackluster. In a story that uplifts the importance of friendship and found family, the main character’s tunnel vision and indifference toward her friends’ problems make for an ending that doesn’t feel earned. Rather than coming across as a complicated but earnest love interest, Shara feels superficial and narcissistic, raising the question of why so many people drop everything to pursue her. Shara and Chloe are White; Rory has a White mom and Black dad, and Smith is described as having dark brown skin. Bisexual Chloe has two moms.

An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24445-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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