FADE

Young Paul Moreaux discovers that he's inherited the ability to disappear at will, and what might have been at least partly a blessing in the hands of another author is in Cormier's hands an unalloyed curse. Paul's French-Canadian family has a secret known to very few: once each generation a "Fader" is born, though the trait doesn't manifest itself until adolescence. Paul lives through 13 peaceful, unmemorable summers before he begins to notice that people can't always see him. His wayward uncle Adelard, the previous generation's Fader, steps in to teach him partial control over the Fade, to caution him against misusing his ability, and to tell him that when the next Fader begins to mature it will be his responsibility to pass on the teaching. Since Paul is an introspective, commonsensical sort, he doesn't try to hurt anyone with his talent, but he does succumb to the temptation to be a voyeur: in quick succession, he catches an ultrarespectable local shopkeeper engaging in oral sex with a teen-age girl, and watches in horror as his elegant, new-found friend Emerson makes love to his own twin sister. Shortly thereafter, Paul kills a man in a fit of anger. These experiences sour him on the whole idea of Fading, and he remorsefully vows never to Fade again. The next generation's Fader is Ozzie Slater, illegitimate, abused so much that his nose is permanently mutilated, with a bone-deep grudge against the entire world. Once he discovers his ability, he immediately kills his adoptive father and goes on a rampage. An older Paul appears on the scene, but by now Ozzie is too far over the edge; after a violent scuffle, Paul finds himself a killer once again. Setting, structure, and characters are woven together in shifting, complex patterns as Paul finds out that the Fade is a terrible burden, capable of doing more harm than good: Cormier has once again produced a profoundly disturbing, finely crafted gem that's hard, cold, and brilliant.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0385731345

Page Count: 318

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

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

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A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula.

HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL

In honor of its 25th anniversary, a Disney Halloween horror/comedy film gets a sequel to go with its original novelization.

Three Salem witches hanged in 1693 for stealing a child’s life force are revived in 1993 when 16-year-old new kid Max completes a spell by lighting a magical candle (which has to be kindled by a virgin to work). Max and dazzling, popular classmate Allison have to keep said witches at bay until dawn to save all of the local children from a similar fate. Fast-forward to 2018: Poppy, daughter of Max and Allison, inadvertently works a spell that sends her parents and an aunt to hell in exchange for the gleeful witches. With help from her best friend, Travis, and classmate Isabella, on whom she has a major crush, Poppy has only hours to keep the weird sisters from working more evil. The witches, each daffier than the last, supply most of the comedy as well as plenty of menace but end up back in the infernal regions. There’s also a talking cat, a talking dog, a gaggle of costumed heroines, and an oblique reference to a certain beloved Halloween movie. Traditional Disney wholesomeness is spiced, not soured, by occasional innuendo and a big twist in the sequel. Poppy and her family are white, while Travis and Isabella are both African-American.

A bit of envelope-pushing freshens up the formula. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-02003-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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