This genre-bending mashup will win over fans of swoon-y, suspenseful paranormal dramas.

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LOBIZONA

From the Wolves of No World series , Vol. 1

An Argentinian-folklore–inspired fantasy.

As undocumented immigrants from Argentina, Manuela Azul and her mother fear being deported back to their homeland, where the criminal associates who killed Manu’s father could find them. Because of her unique eyes—her irises are yellow suns and her pupils silver stars—she is confined in their tiny Miami apartment most of the time, wearing mirrored sunglasses on the rare occasions when she goes out. But when a loved one is attacked and her mother is taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the young woman goes in search of answers and discovers that the world of the lobizones—Argentinian werewolves—exists. Infiltrating a magical school for werewolves and witches, she begins to uncover family secrets and the truth of her existence. Garber, who authored the Zodiac series under the pen name Romina Russell, has crafted a complex fantasy system in this series opener. Despite some missteps—plot twists that readers will see coming and italicized word-for-word English translations of Spanish that grow tiresome—this novel is filled with timely topics and nuanced characterization. Touching upon undocumented immigrants, rigid gender roles, sexuality, and mixed-race identity, its themes run deep. Refreshingly, the book also talks openly and in depth about menstruation, which is still fairly uncommon in YA literature. The entire cast is Argentinian or Latinx, with a range of skin tones.

This genre-bending mashup will win over fans of swoon-y, suspenseful paranormal dramas. (author’s note) (Paranormal romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-23912-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 11, 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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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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