Another smart Goodnight caper

SPIRIT AND DUST

A ghost-whispering 17-year-old is roped into a cinematic showdown between the FBI and the mob.

Clement-Moore introduces another magical teen detective from the Goodnight family, following on Amy’s adventures from Texas Gothic (2011). College freshman Daisy is accustomed to helping out the FBI on cases. Adorable Agent Taylor doesn’t consult with the teen psychic because she’s cute—much as Daisy might wish otherwise—but because her ability to read spirit remnants has helped them catch murderers before. While Daisy interrogates the dead bodyguard of a kidnapped girl, she’s snatched herself, spirited away by the girl’s crime-boss father. Soon, Daisy is on a madcap road trip across the Great Lakes states in the company of a disturbingly attractive young mobster, learning about Egyptology while avoiding erstwhile apocalyptic cultists. A CGI-ready climax pulls together all the metaphysical building blocks laid down in this mystery’s tight worldbuilding (not to mention mummies, ghosts, animated tattoos and a bonus dinosaur). This likable, uber-competent heroine’s adventure combines elements of paranormal romance and fast-paced thriller, while Daisy herself resembles a Southern teen version of supernatural PI Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s best-selling adult series.

Another smart Goodnight caper . (Paranormal mystery. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74080-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Heart-pounding.

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CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Macabre and melodramatic.

ROOM SERVICE

Four teens spend an unsettling weekend at a fancy hotel in this Dutch import.

It has been almost a year since Fender, Kate, and Lucas lost a friend—but they don’t talk about her anymore. Thanks to Kate’s dad’s work meeting, they’ve got rooms at the five-star Riverside Hotel to celebrate Kate’s birthday weekend—supposedly there will be adult supervision, but in reality, they’re largely left to their own devices. The trio will be joined by their new friend from school, Linnea, who seems to have filled in all the gaps left behind by their friend who is gone. Fender and Linnea alternate as first-person narrators along with a creepy unnamed voice who stalks them both. It’s that voice that’s in the threatening messages delivered to Fender’s door on room service trays and written in black marker on the walls of Kate and Linnea’s room. That voice, brusque and accusatory, directs the narrative, creating suspense with a growing feeling of dread as it alludes to sexual assault, murder, and suicide. The characters are compelling enough to keep the pages turning, and the emotions, both intense and mercurial, feel apt for a young adult novel. The ending, however, feels anticlimactic, the twist not quite sufficient to justify the magnitude of the horror in all the preceding hints. Main characters are assumed White.

Macabre and melodramatic. (author’s note) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17598-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Underlined

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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