While not without faults, a tale of survival and rebuilding.

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YOU DON'T LIVE HERE

Sixteen-year-old Sasha’s world is upended when her single mother is killed in an earthquake.

After surviving a 6.0 San Bernardino earthquake, Sasha must go live with her maternal grandparents in Orange County, California. She hibernates for three months before emerging to begin 11th grade. Severely bullied in middle school, her coping strategy thus far has been to hide behind her camera as a yearbook photographer. Unfortunately, Sasha’s ambitious and controlling grandmother refuses to let her join the yearbook team or art club at her new school and instead insists she participate in mock trial, which she loathes. Wanting to please her grandparents, Sasha caves. She makes some new and cool popular friends via her grandparents’ country club, but events at a party soon clarify their untrustworthiness. The interesting twist to the perennial teen themes of fitting in, self-discovery, and truth-telling is that Sasha is bisexual. Her love interest is art club president Lily, despite her grandparents’ desire that she date golden boy Cole. The traumas of grief and earthquake survival take a backseat to the more pedestrian anxieties of what club to join and which friends and romantic interests to claim. The first-person narrative is plodding; Sasha agonizes for many chapters about the same issues. For teen readers who are slowly uncovering their own truths, the pace might feel appropriate. Most main characters are white; Lily is Chinese American.

While not without faults, a tale of survival and rebuilding. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-256811-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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