Dreamily romantic, deliciously angst-y, addictively thrilling.



From the Wrath and the Dawn series , Vol. 1

A lush, hypnotic, swoony re-imagining of the “Arabian Nights” framing story.

Sixteen-year-old Shahrzad jilts her sweetheart to wed the “murderer, monster, madman” Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, Caliph of Khorasan, planning vengeance for his serial murders of his brides, including her beloved cousin. Clever, stubborn, and reckless, Shahrzad wields stories like weapons as she piques her new husband’s interest and maneuvers through palace intrigue. But she never envisaged that the cold, brilliant, tortured boy king could kindle her desire, nor that her spurned betrothed would raise a rebellion to rescue her. Redolent of perfumes and spices, luxuriant with jewels and silks, this debut pulls authentic details from across cultures and centuries and mixes them with magic and mysticism to concoct an exotic storybook world—albeit with violence and candid sensuality that take it well out of the realm of children’s books. While the steamy love triangle takes center stage, secondary characters add excitement with their treacherous schemes, murderous plots, and soapy melodrama. Witty, brash, and passionate, Shahrzad makes a good foil for both her impossibly valiant and infatuated first love and for the angry and self-loathing Khalid, cursed to make impossible choices. As the disparate plot threads intertwine to a heartbreaking climax, the conflagrant cliffhanger will leave those readers enthralled by the forbidden romance both yearning for and dreading the concluding volume.

Dreamily romantic, deliciously angst-y, addictively thrilling. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17161-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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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 unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.


Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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