This thoughtful, considered action-adventure will have readers pondering even after they’ve closed the book


From the Blackout series , Vol. 2

Picking up where Blackout (2013) left off, Wells continues to look at the impact of terrorism and the morality of war.

The United States is under attack, with Russia landing troops in the Pacific Northwest and saboteurs striking without warning. Aubrey and Jack have been recruited into the military, and after just a few weeks of basic training, they are forced into the field on their first mission. With Aubrey’s ability to become invisible and Jack’s to read minds, they hope they can find the secret weapon deployed against them: an electromagnetic-pulse device that knocks out all electrical functions with no warning, wreaking havoc. Little do they know the secret weapon is just like them—a pair of teens infected with an enhancement virus as youngsters. Zasha and Fyodor have trained their whole lives for this, and Zasha in particular isn’t about to let anything—or anyone—get in their way. Amid the action, Wells raises deep questions. As Aubrey struggles to understand why killing enemy soldiers isn’t murder, Jack and their platoon mates (other “lambdas” like themselves) struggle to understand why the burden of warfare is being thrust on their young shoulders. Jack and Aubrey wrestle with these issues and more as the story races to a satisfying conclusion.

This thoughtful, considered action-adventure will have readers pondering even after they’ve closed the book . (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227502-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.


Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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