A powerful, tender reminder of the importance of friendship in times of trauma.

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THE EDGE OF ANYTHING

“You have to go through all the darkness….If you don’t, it will devour you.”

Driven, outgoing Sage Zendasky, Southview High’s star volleyball player, scouted by top colleges, finds her world shattered after a medical diagnosis that robs her of the ability to play. The unfortunately named Len Madder, the school outcast, is losing hope of winning the photography scholarship that could get her to college and is crippled by the fear that she’s losing her mind. A moment of under-the-bleachers panic draws the two girls together, and a tentative friendship forms. Finding little support from others, Sage and Len take solace in each other, each girl helping the other to heal. But as they spiral deeper into their private despair, their refusal to realize that they themselves need help might just cost them their friendship—and their lives. Carpenter weaves an incredibly rich tale of female friendship, beautifully written and refreshingly free of romance. Both characters feel wholly realistic in their interactions with each other, their families, their teachers, and their peers. A litany of painful topics—mental health, medical trauma, aging, grief and loss, financial insecurity, social isolation, and more—is handled with a deft touch that is equal parts humorous and heart-wrenching. A description of the author’s own battle with OCD emphasizes the story’s positive attitude toward seeking help.

A powerful, tender reminder of the importance of friendship in times of trauma. (author’s note, mental health resources) (Fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6758-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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