A winning combination of wit, a twisted crime drama, and a fresh take on teens with powers

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LOST AND FOUND

A teen with the micropower (much smaller than a superpower) of finding lost things is asked to help in a kidnapping investigation.

Long ostracized as a thief because no one believes him, freshman Ezekiel has tried to tamp down his ability to recognize lost items and compulsion to return them. His loner act is interrupted by Beth, an almost 14-year-old sophomore with proportionate dwarfism who wants to befriend him so that his isolation bubble can protect her from the bullying she faces. He's jerkish as a defense mechanism; she’s persistent; they’re both precocious intellectuals with snarky, dark humor—most importantly, she believes in and encourages his micropower. Also encouraging him is a desperate detective who wants Ezekiel’s help in a missing child case (though Ezekiel’s more accustomed to being accused and mistreated by police). The pacing of the multilayered mystery enables a buildup of dread leading to the revelation of how incredibly dark the crime story really is. The story’s psychological elements—both traumatic fallout and beautiful interpersonal relationships—are given breathing space in a satisfying denouement. Physical and racial descriptors are largely absent, creating a white default. The slur “Paki” is used without contextualization in reference to a Bangladeshi American character. Despite the infantilizing descriptive phrase “pitter patter of little feet,” Beth is portrayed as strong and capable.

A winning combination of wit, a twisted crime drama, and a fresh take on teens with powers . (Thriller/science fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9826-1341-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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