Another smart Goodnight caper

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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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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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An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic.

WHEN WE WERE MAGIC

Getting through high school requires more than a little bit of magic.

On prom night, when Alexis accidentally kills Josh Harper, she panics and summons her five best friends—Paulie, Roya, Iris, Marcelina, and Maryam—for help. Alexis knows she can rely on them, not only because of their unshakeable friendship, but because of what they have in common: the ability to do magic. Attempting to make things right, the girls cast a spell but are left with a disconnected collection of Josh’s body parts, including a cold, glassy version of his heart. They divide them up and agree to dispose of what is left of Josh, piece by piece. Alexis insists on witnessing each body-part-releasing ceremony, in the process exploring her bonds with her friends—and, in one case, feelings that go far beyond friendship. But as their relationships strengthen, the spell takes its toll: Every time they lose a body part, the girls lose something too, forcing them to rethink how they define themselves and each other. This work of speculative fiction is a profoundly thoughtful exploration of female friendship, love, growth, and identity. The fully realized characters are diverse in ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity. While the final two-thirds of the book are beautifully paced, balancing introspection and character development with plot, the first third at times feels weighed down by explanation and backstory.

An intimate portrait of female friendship laced with literal and metaphorical magic. (Speculative fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3287-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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