A well-paced, realistic YA story that looks at a difficult topic.

SURVIVOR

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #20

A brave young-adult novel about a devastating family secret.

Sixteen-year-old Tarah Carson’s high school life in small-town Bluford is going well: She’s dating a football star, she has close girlfriends, and one of her favorite teachers has suggested that her skills with children could point to an education career in her future. She also has a funny, smart gaggle of cousins keep her on her toes. But an impending family reunion in honor of a beloved aunt triggers Tarah’s deep-seated traumatic memories, because her Uncle Rudy, who sexually abused her as a child, will be there. Tarah’s afraid that Uncle Rudy might pose a threat to the youngest members of the family, and she weighs the consequences of telling her family and her boyfriend about his terrible past transgressions. As she does so, she finds herself facing, and questioning, her own coping mechanisms. Langan, in this installment of his ongoing series set in fictional Bluford, offers unflinchingly honest plot situations to engage and educate readers. It would be easy to fall into overdramatic or sentimental cliché with this novel’s subject matter, but Langan deftly avoids such traps, instead opting for natural dialogue and just enough specific detail to render his story universally relatable. The author’s portrayal of his teenage female protagonist’s internal struggles is admirable, although some readers may wish that the book elaborated more upon the emotional climax of the story, and its subsequent fallout. Some younger readers may find this book’s subject a bit too troubling, but older teens will likely be able to tolerate its frank discussion of familial taboos.

A well-paced, realistic YA story that looks at a difficult topic. 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1591943044

Page Count: 138

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 20

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

more