Cast’s fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture.

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MOON CHOSEN

From the Tales of a New World series , Vol. 1

The lives of three disparate young people collide in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.

Eighteen-year-old Mari should succeed her mother as the healer of the matriarchal Earth Walkers but for her father’s blood that also courses through her veins, a secret that the blonde, pale-skinned girl and her dark-skinned mother go to great lengths to conceal. Twenty-three-year-old blond, pale-skinned Nik, who hails from a rival people known for enslaving Mari’s, should become Sun Priest of the Tribe when his father retires, but he has yet to be chosen as a Companion by a canine. Dead Eye, a 21-year-old mutant Skin Stealer, is a rebel, a self-proclaimed God with gruesome vision for the future of his people. In this series kickoff, Cast weaves together the stories of Mari, Nik, and Dead Eye, offering readers a new fantasy world steeped in magic that’s grounded by a hodgepodge of tropes ranging from Greek mythology to New Age mysticism. The intersection of Mari’s and Nik’s stories dominates the hefty novel. Readers will enjoy watching these two characters, who share a palpable chemistry, come into their own. Dead Eye’s story is far more disturbing, portending a darkness that will become more prevalent in future installments. While Cast is a bit heavy-handed spelling it out for readers, at its core this is a story about embracing and finding strength in difference. Though skin is vital to the story, modern racial categories do not seem to exist.

Cast’s fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-10072-6

Page Count: 608

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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