Greene (Castle of Fire, 2012, etc.) returns with a third volume of his YA nautical adventure series set in the early 19th century.

Jonathan Moore and his fellow 14-year-old cohorts, Sean Flagon and Delain Dowdeswell, are all in London as the book begins. Jonathan and Sean have been there for about 10 months since returning from their last mission aboard the Danielle, during which they were instrumental in defeating a fleet of Napoleon’s vessels. Delain arrived in the city more recently, when her father, the governor of the Bahamas, decided that it was time for his three daughters to be schooled in proper social graces. The boys are anxious to return to sea, and Delain is quite bored with her “studies.” But another rousing escapade awaits the teens, as midshipman Jonathan and Marine private Sean are to be stationed aboard the beautiful, swift HMS Paladin. Unbeknownst to the crown, someone has hijacked the Echo, one of the king’s ships, and the Paladin is next on the thieves’ shopping list. The Paladin’s orders are mysteriously changed, and its crew is sent off on a secret mission to the Dalmatian island of Dugi Otok. Jonathan and Sean soon find themselves in battle against the bloodthirsty Nikomed Aggar, a henchman for a Russian profiteer. Meanwhile, Delain, stuck in England and fueled by an insatiable curiosity, suspects that something is amiss with local Lord and Lady Wilder, so she embarks upon a personal mission of espionage. Greene has produced another page-turner here, filling the seas with gunfire and knife fights and London’s streets with a network of spies and traitors hidden in tea parties and fox hunts. He deftly alternates scenes of maritime- and land-based exploits, creating a perfect mix of grisly nautical violence, urban skulduggery, and gentle takedowns of British high society. Delain is a delightful character who’s smart, funny, and independent; Jonathan and Sean, meanwhile, are heroes of the first order—tenderhearted, ingenious, and fierce in battle. Greene’s fluid prose ably handles the extensive nautical terminology, making it easily understandable, and the dialogue reflects both the pretension and the wit of the period. An exciting, satisfying historical novel with a touch of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5440-1367-1

Page Count: 454

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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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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Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in...


In this roller-coaster ride of a debut, the author summons the popular legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to respond to the recent tragic violence befalling unarmed black men and boys.

Seventeen-year-old black high school senior Justyce McAllister, a full-scholarship student at the virtually all-white Braselton Prep, is the focus. After a bloody run-in with the police when they take his good deed for malice, Justyce seeks meaning in a series of letters with his “homie” Dr. King. He writes, “I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I’d be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know?” While he’s ranked fourth in his graduating class and well-positioned for the Ivy League, Justyce is coming to terms with the fact that there’s not as much that separates him from “THOSE black guys” as he’d like to believe. Despite this, Stone seems to position Justyce and his best friend as the decidedly well-mannered black children who are deserving of readers’ sympathies. They are not those gangsters that can be found in Justyce’s neighborhood. There’s nuance to be found for sure, but not enough to upset the dominant narrative. What if they weren’t the successful kids? While the novel intentionally leaves more questions than it attempts to answer, there are layers that still remain between the lines.

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in the face. Take interest and ask questions. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93949-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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