Debut author Wells’ beautiful prose and compelling protagonist will leave readers eager for the sequel.


From the Shatter the Sky series , Vol. 1

A girl seeks the help of a dragon to save her heartmate.

Bisexual Maren lives in Ilvera, a mountaintop village ruled by the tyrannous emperor of Zefed. His influence includes control of the Aurati seers, women who visit to share prophecies and take new initiates. When the Aurati abscond with Maren’s heartmate, Kaia, Maren gathers her courage and travels to the fortress where dragons are trained for the emperor. Maren hopes her heritage—Verrans have a special connection with dragons—will enable her to steal a dragon and use it to free Kaia. Hiding her origins and intentions, Maren becomes an apprentice to the Aromatory, who uses scented oils to control dragons, and befriends Sev, a fortress guard hiding secrets of his own. Maren’s world is at once familiar and inventive; politics and dragon lore are deeply rooted and heavily inform the narrative. The pacing is methodical and perhaps too linear—much of the time, Maren announces her intentions and then executes them, mostly to plan. One of the few plot twists is telegraphed from miles off. Still, Maren’s wins are satisfying and the rip-roaring conclusion, empowering; her journey from viewing herself as second-best to someone with power and worth is particularly gratifying. Maren’s mixed heritage gives her light-brown skin like most Zefedi, while Kaia has the darker skin of Verrans.

Debut author Wells’ beautiful prose and compelling protagonist will leave readers eager for the sequel. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3790-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller


What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

A resounding success.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017).

The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones–esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn’t contain dragons or sorcerers, but it’s nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav’s a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father’s federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are “li’l homies,” lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys’ very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, “I ain’t as hard as my pops, ain’t as street as my pops,” but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav’s parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black.

A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284671-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet