Wrenching, dark, and powerful—no fluke, considering its model.

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AND THE OCEAN WAS OUR SKY

An ancient war draws to a climax as a vengeful—and literally hard-nosed—sea captain seeks out a demonic killer.

Ness (Release, 2017, etc.) mines Moby Dick for incidents and motifs, pitting men against whales in a futuristic alternate world. Along with telling the tale from a young whale’s point of view, he reverses the usual orientation of the universe so that cetacean crews go down to meet their enemies at the threshold where oceans give way to the deep, unknowable Abyss of air. In a conflict that has raged for millennia, both sides wield harpoons and store their savagely dismembered opponents in wooden hulls for transport. Having seen her own mother ambushed and torn to pieces, Bathsheba eagerly joins Capt. Alexandra, who bears the stub of a harpoon in her head, in ramming ships to splinters. But the reflective narrator catches profound glimpses of how destructive implacable mutual hatred can be to both body and soul as her captain’s obsessive search for the white ship of the universally feared Toby Wick leads through massacres and chancy encounters to a melodramatic confrontation. The story, though far shorter than its progenitor, conjures similar allegorical weight by pairing the narrative’s rolling cadences with powerful, shadowy illustrations featuring looming whales, an upside-down ship in full sail, and swarms of red-eyed sharks, all amid dense swirls of water and blood.

Wrenching, dark, and powerful—no fluke, considering its model. (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-286072-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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