WHISPER

Just like her older sister, Jessica, her mother and every female ancestor before her, 15-year-old Joy Stefani can “Hear” people’s innermost desires, which her family calls “Whispers.” While pessimistic Jessica remains a loner and dabbles in drugs, Joy feels compelled to fulfill Whispers as best she can, becoming popular in the process. After she temporarily loses her Hearing and the social insights it brings, it returns full force, allowing her to Hear her friends’ true thoughts and causing her to question their motives. When she discovers that Jamie, her crush’s younger brother, has a similar talent, she begins to trust an outsider with her secret and learns how to use the power of her Hearing when Jessica, whom she’s pushed away over the years, needs saving. Joy narrates the story in the first person, and her responses to her classmates’ Whispers will strike a chord. Although the too-tidy ending feels rushed and the story is not as solid as Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy, fans of the genre will likely enjoy it. (Paranormal. YA)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-179925-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel.

DEATHLESS DIVIDE

From the Dread Nation series , Vol. 2

Two young black women kick zombie ass from the post–Civil War East to the late-1800s American West. 

This sequel to Dread Nation (2018) is told from the perspectives of the irascible Jane McKeene and her unlikely best friend, Katherine Deveraux, after they escape the unholy hell of Summerland, a social science experiment run by a maniacal minister through which black people were forced to protect whites from attacks by throat-chomping, undead shamblers. Alternating between Jane’s haunted life with its Shakespearean overtones and Katherine’s more devout but no less deadly existence, each chapter takes readers farther west, with hopes resting on happy endings for the duo in California. The pacing is steady throughout the first part of the story, building and exploding into a gut-wrenching plot twist halfway through. Then it’s a glorious race to the finish, with compelling moral examinations of human experimentation and killing for hire to fuel reader interest. At its core the book delves into a spectrum of black girls’ and women’s experiences, kinship, and necessary resilience. That focus never strays even as Ireland touches briefly on social tensions between Native and black characters along with passing commentary on immigration and relations between Chinese families and other communities. The imaginative integration of real-world historical players into an equally messy, gruesome chronology artfully developed by the author makes this stand out.

A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel. (author’s note) (Historical fiction/horror. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-257063-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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The pleasure of the protagonists’ romance notwithstanding, give this one a miss. (Romance. 14-18)

FIVE FEET APART

A hospital is an unlikely place for first love, but for two teenagers with cystic fibrosis who have a history of extended stays, it proves to be a realistic yet difficult backdrop.

Stella is a high school senior who is dedicated to her CF treatments while Will, a talented artist, is home-schooled and anticipating his 18th birthday, when he will be free to make his own medical decisions. Despite rocky first impressions, Stella and Will make a deal—Will must stick to his treatment regimen, and in return, Stella will model for him while he draws her portrait. This leads to romance, but the combination of CF and Will’s infection with B. cepacia requires that he must stay several feet away from Stella, making physical touch an impossibility. Stella eventually understands why living on the edge can be freeing, and Will begins taking his treatment regimen seriously—leading to their only bit of meaningful development. The novel is written in alternating chapters, creating a few unexpected plot developments, but much of it is predictable and forgettable due to thin characterization. All characters are presumed white except for gay, Colombian CF patient Poe, whose story arc fulfills tired stereotypical tropes and who seems to function mostly as a catalyst for Stella’s growth.

The pleasure of the protagonists’ romance notwithstanding, give this one a miss. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3733-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2019

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