Exhilarating.

READ REVIEW

THE SECRET COMMONWEALTH

From the Book of Dust series , Vol. 2

A desert rose with mysterious properties sets off a rush.

The events of The Book of Dust (2017) and the His Dark Materials series behind her, Lyra Silvertongue has grown into a rude post-teen so enthralled by the existential hyperrationalism of two popular writers that even her daemon Pantalaimon can’t stand to talk to her. Believing that Lyra’s imagination has been stolen, Pan braves mutual anguish to slip off to fetch it back. Meanwhile, hints of a rare Central Asian rose whose attar confers the power to see Dust arrive in Brytain, the theocratic Magisterium is poised to expand its reach under the sway of a sinister mastermind, and Malcolm Polstead, Oxford professor and secret agent, finds himself involved in ominous local events—all adding up to multiple characters embarking on parallel journeys across Europe and onward. Pullman places his cast of white main characters in a Eurocentric world marked by rising authoritarianism, general anxiety, desperate refugees, and anonymous terrorists violently destroying rose crops in the name of a vaguely religious Holy Purpose. He skillfully weaves in deeper themes of change and of love’s complexities, ruminations on the nature of evil, evidence of magical truths beneath reality’s veneer, swipes at organized religion, and the powerful—if often twisted—ties of family. This entry, while well stocked with familiar characters in a story founded on ideas, is also not lacking in grand events and narrow squeaks.

Exhilarating. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-553-51066-9

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

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

Did you like this book?

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 20

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more