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

LOST AND FOUND

From the Micropowers series , Vol. 1

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Only marginally intriguing.

REDEMPTION PREP

In a remote part of Utah, in a “temple of excellence,” the best of the best are recruited to nurture their talents.

Redemption Preparatory is a cross between the Vatican and a top-secret research facility: The school is rooted in Christian ideology (but very few students are Christian), Mass is compulsory, cameras capture everything, and “maintenance” workers carry Tasers. When talented poet Emma disappears, three students, distrusting of the school administration, launch their own investigation. Brilliant chemist Neesha believes Emma has run away to avoid taking the heat for the duo’s illegal drug enterprise. Her boyfriend, an athlete called Aiden, naturally wants to find her. Evan, a chess prodigy who relies on patterns and has difficulty processing social signals, believes he knows Emma better than anyone. While the school is an insidious character on its own and the big reveal is slightly psychologically disturbing, Evan’s positioning as a tragic hero with an uncertain fate—which is connected to his stalking of Emma (even before her disappearance)—is far more unsettling. The ’90s setting provides the backdrop for tongue-in-cheek technological references but doesn’t do anything for the plot. Student testimonials and voice-to-text transcripts punctuate the three-way third-person narration that alternates among Neesha, Evan, and Aiden. Emma, Aiden, and Evan are assumed to be white; Neesha is Indian. Students are from all over the world, including Asia and the Middle East.

Only marginally intriguing. (Mystery. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266203-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

ANNA K AWAY

From the Anna K series , Vol. 2

A tale of love and loss that spans the globe.

Instead of having a carefree summer, biracial (Korean/White) Anna is sent away from the familiarity of New York, her friends, the past school year’s scandal—and the memories of her dead boyfriend, Alexia Vronsky. While struggling with grief, her shattered self-image, and an uncertain future, Anna attempts to reclaim her summer in Seoul, where she knows only her father and grandmother. Beatrice, Alexia’s cousin, juggles her clingy girlfriend and falling for a California surfer even as she represses her grief. Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, plans for an amazing summer party, although Lolly, his girlfriend, is away at theater camp. Steven’s best friend, Dustin, and Kimmie, Lolly’s younger sister, are equally nervous about their first sexual experience together. This sequel to Anna K (2020) contains fewer mentions of luxury brands, and the characters exhibit an increased awareness of the impacts of wealth and socio-economic status. The novel also touches on issues of addiction, sexism, cultural differences, fame, relationships, love, and mental health; in particular, the portrayals of living with grief and redefining the self after a loved one dies shine. Despite some awkward time skips, the humor, pop-culture references, and characters’ distinct voices strengthen the story. Fans of the first novel will enjoy this follow-up, which is also accessible to readers new to Anna and her world. Some major characters are White; Dustin is Black and Jewish, and there is diversity in the supporting cast.

Entertaining. (cast of characters) (Fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23646-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more