Vincent’s a pro: large parts of this are un-put-down–able. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

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THE STARS NEVER RISE

A girl learns that she has the ability to fight the demons that threaten the world in this series opener.

Soon to be 17, Nina struggles to keep herself and her 15-year old sister, Melanie, out of the hands of the Church, which has become the new, tyrannical government a century after the war between humans and demons wiped out most of America—and the rest of the world. She might have succeeded, but Melanie turns up with a secret that will destroy any real future the girls have. The Church, however, discovers another secret, something Nina did not know about herself: Nina is a natural exorcist, able to dispatch demons to hell with only the fire that glows from her hand. This makes her a target of the Church, and her new friend Finn, one of a group of young exorcists and other freedom fighters, steps in to help her escape. In no time, Nina becomes public enemy number one on the national news. Jammed with dramatic tension, this post-apocalyptic paranormal thriller will keep readers flipping pages. Vincent maintains suspense with fights against demonic degenerates and near-miss encounters with the demonstrably evil Church. One of Finn’s group has a so-far-unexplained supernatural ability that makes their efforts much easier, and there are hints of future romance.

Vincent’s a pro: large parts of this are un-put-down–able. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74417-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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