A sobering exploration of absolution.

THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED

A terrible accident shatters a teen girl’s life.

Genevieve Grace’s boyfriend, Dallas Kade, is a blossoming rock star, but their relationship is starting to wilt. The two white teens leave an album launch party late one night and disaster strikes. Another driver slams into them, killing Dallas and knocking Gen into a coma. Gen wakes to find the world mourning the loss of a rising star and hating the intoxicated man that killed him. She flees reporters and police by spending the summer with her estranged father, but her surfacing memories of what really happened that fateful night loom large over her conscience. The ensuing tale of grief and forgiveness is smartly paced. Stokes doesn’t lean too hard on the mystery element, revealing the cold truth early enough to follow through with all the baggage that comes with it. Gen’s relationship with her father and stepmother is sweetly characterized, providing solid thematic reinforcement to boot. A Greek chorus in the form of the internet provides Gen and readers with updates on the chaos ensuing back home, while a hot, brown-skinned co-worker gives Gen a reason to work her way through her grief. Elliott is the weakest aspect of the book, just another muscled pensive dream guy that always says the right thing at the right time.

A sobering exploration of absolution. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-237993-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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