A chilling reminder that sociopaths aren’t always coldblooded serial killers; sometimes they’re the girl next door

DON'T YOU TRUST ME?

Fifteen-year-old “white-bread-white” Morgan is one of the “cold people”: she lacks a conscience; love and fear don’t apply to her; she’s indestructible; and she never does anything for anyone unless there’s something in it for her.

When Morgan’s parents send her to the New Beginnings School for “troubled teens,” she finds a way to work the situation to her advantage. At the airport, she convinces another girl, Janelle, to switch places with her. It’s a good deal: Janelle can run away with her boyfriend, while Morgan can take Janelle’s place with relatives the latter hasn’t seen since childhood. Morgan fits right into her affluent new “family,” and, as Janelle, she easily convinces them she’s changed her name to Morgan. Morgan creates a new life in which she manipulates the entire, mostly white community into thinking she’s a selfless, upstanding citizen. When others cotton on to her deceit, she deflects their suspicions with more lies, but her grandiosity threatens to be her downfall. Readers may find themselves questioning the over-the-top naiveté of the secondary characters, especially that of Morgan’s psychiatric social worker “aunt,” but it serves to punctuate how convincing Morgan is. The first-person narration combined with Morgan’s compulsive lying will have readers wondering whether or not she’s at all reliable, a device that effectively compounds the tension.

A chilling reminder that sociopaths aren’t always coldblooded serial killers; sometimes they’re the girl next door . (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5910-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary,...

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THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE

The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards.

The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys’ home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption—together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. 

A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author’s note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-16031-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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