Magical and exhilarating.

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THE NEVER TILTING WORLD

From the Never Tilting World series , Vol. 1

Can 17-year-old goddesses fix the world?

Ever since the Breaking, the world of Aeon has stopped turning. One hemisphere exists in perpetual night plagued by ceaseless tsunamis while the other half is scorched by constant oppressive sunlight. Aeon is a dystopian world where critical resources are scarce and monsters and spectres lurk dangerously. Living in opposite hemispheres and unaware of the other’s existence, twin goddesses Odessa and Haidee embark on treacherous parallel journeys to the Great Abyss to revisit the site of the Breaking and try to heal the world that their mothers made so wrong. These are teens aching to understand the broken world they’ve inherited and figure out how to set it to rights. What are they willing to fight for and defend? In a book narrated by four alternating voices, Chupeco (contributor: His Hideous Heart, 2019, etc.) offers up an exciting page-turner that is so visually vivid that reading it feels like watching a movie. It’s chock full of narrow escapes, plot twists, and great characters—even a queer romance—that work in concert. Give this to fans of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince (2018) and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone (2018); they will devour this story that is part epic adventure, part political thriller and eagerly await its sequel. Most characters are presumed white; two major and several secondary characters are coded as East or South Asian.

Magical and exhilarating. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-282179-9

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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