For Western aficionados who don’t mind alien outlaws in their shoot’em-ups.


In a bizarre post-apocalyptic future, Megan Bridgwater’s world is defined by Western garb, gab and clichés.

There are horses, saloons, outlaws, a stagecoach robbery, poker games—everything but cattle and rustlers. Alien Visitors who arrived 20 years ago have created a land of perpetual daytime: They’ve stopped the Earth’s rotation, leaving the sun always in the sky and otherwise wreaking havoc. The Zone, a place of “[w]eird space-time wrinkles,” stretches from the Midwest to the Pacific. Despite that, Megan, an expert tracker, heads out into no man’s land to find her father. She’s accompanied first by Luis, a Mexican blacksmith who eventually becomes a love interest, and joined by Kelly, an alien abductee who has missed the past 20 years. This threesome is determined to get from Marfa, Texas, to Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., where they hope all answers can be found. Megan’s formal, present-tense narration is reminiscent of Charles Portis. A weird concoction of familiar and strange elements, the plot challenges the characters in ways that cause them to draw on both magical and old-fashioned ingenuity. So much happens that the characters remain fairly flat, the violence has a cartoonish quality, and the climactic moment goes over the top. That doesn’t stop the premise, unlikely as it is, from being cool as hell.

For Western aficionados who don’t mind alien outlaws in their shoot’em-ups. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55701-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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


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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Will both entertain and encourage reflection.


In Mersailles, “Cinderella” is more than just a fairy tale: It’s the basis for a harsh monarch’s throttlehold on his kingdom.

Sophia is turning 16, the age at which young women must attend King Manford’s annual ball, at which they are scrutinized by and married off to male attendees. Any young woman who has not been claimed after her third ball is destined to spend the rest of her days engaged in hard labor. But being chosen can be its own curse in a society where domestic violence is common. Sophia is a beautiful Black girl in love with dark-haired Erin, one of her best friends. While racial diversity is a natural part of this world, the same acceptance does not exist for those who defy rigid gender norms: Anything other than heterosexual desire is strictly forbidden, and while Sophia wishes to escape as a couple, Erin is too fearful. After fleeing the ball, Sophia stumbles across Cinderella’s mausoleum, hidden in the woods. There she meets rebellious Constance, an attractive young red-haired woman with a very personal motivation for sabotaging the monarchy. As the two grew closer—and sparks fly—they discover secrets that could end Manford’s cruel reign. This promising debut deals with themes around rebellion and empowerment as well as the toll that rejecting the status quo can take on relationships. The atmospheric setting is a particular strength, and the twists and turns will keep readers in suspense.

Will both entertain and encourage reflection. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0387-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

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