A thriller chiller with some hot moments.

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Wicket Tate kicks into high gear with her hacking skills when her little sister is threatened following another girl’s suicide.

Wick and Lily’s father is an abuser and a criminal, and it’s been up to Wick to protect the naïve Lily ever since their mother jumped to her death; well-to-do foster parents Bren and Todd have given the girls a second chance, but Wick is still in survival mode. Classmate Tessa’s death becomes personal when Wick finds a copy of Tessa’s diary on her front porch in the middle of the night. Carson, the cop who’s still looking for her dad, and Griff, an attractive fellow student, are pulled into the plot, along with Tessa’s parents and sister. It’s clear from the diary that Tessa was in an abusive relationship with an older man, but how to identify him and why there are threats against Lily remain murky. Wick’s hacking activities are integral to the plot but are not as fully fleshed out as they should be, resulting in some telling rather than showing, distancing readers. Romance blossoms between Griff and Wick despite her resistance, adding a vulnerability to Wick’s tough-cookie persona. The pace is so swift that there’s no time for readers to examine minor inconsistencies or to wonder why such a smart hacker would sometimes give up so easily.

A thriller chiller with some hot moments. (Suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222903-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Slow off the mark and gratuitously violent but cooking with (nerve) gas by the end.

THE TRIGGER MECHANISM

From the Camp Valor series , Vol. 2

With help from a reclusive billionaire, teen supersoldiers tackle a cyberterrorist in this sequel to Camp Valor (2018).

The main suspense comes from wondering when the chases and firefights are finally going to start. Traumatized by the discovery that he’s been duped into mowing down a crowd of real pedestrians in what he thought was a virtual truck, online gamer Jalen Rose is recruited by Valorian agent and co-protagonist Wyatt to join him in an unauthorized mission to find the instigator, Encyte. There are suspects aplenty. Their patron, tech tycoon John Darsie, points them toward one possibility: his own employee Julie Chen, a brilliant (not to mention “tough and a little boyish, but cute”) 14-year-old gamer and software designer. Despite a series of cyber exploits, including a high-casualty riot fueled by pheromones, there are so many distracting subplots—notably the hunt for a traitor from the first volume, the arrival of a government official who orders the camp shut down because she can’t see the value of a cadre of secretly trained child warriors (go figure), and a developing relationship between Jalen and Julie—that the pedal doesn’t really hit the metal until some time after the real villain makes a tardy first entrance. Jalen is African American and Wyatt is white.

Slow off the mark and gratuitously violent but cooking with (nerve) gas by the end. (Paramilitary thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-08825-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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