Reluctant readers who like survival stories will go along for each adventure.

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RIPTIDE

From the To the Limit series

Maya and Paige head to forbidding Ripper’s Cove to surf after a contentious encounter with bully Kai at the beach.

Despite Paige’s cautionary tales of surfing accidents, Maya allows her anger to pull the pair to the dangerous spot as a storm rolls in. Martin (The Field Trip, 2018, etc.) plainly presents another harbinger of danger with mentions of shark attacks, but the surfers paddle out to catch some coveted waves anyhow. When Paige and Maya sustain injuries and a shark foils the rescue plan, Maya needs to think quickly and find help in unlikely places. Accompanying titles in this series find friends in extreme sports predicaments with little to aid them. In Whiteout by Vanessa Lanang, Jessa and brother Pax navigate a remote trail on their snowboards, facing cliffs and an ominous storm. In Off Road by Raelyn Drake, trail biking friends Wyatt and Tanika must find their way out of the backcountry after a gnarly crash while fending off a mountain lion. On Edge, also by Drake, features climbers Trevor and Micah stranded in a canyon with a snakebite and broken arm, respectively. While there are few physical descriptions of most characters, a couple of the titles feature diversity: In On Edge, Micah has a Chinese surname, Trevor dances with another boy, and there is a reference to a lesbian couple; the siblings in Whiteout are Filipino. While formulaic and somewhat flat, the high-action, low-romance content in these accessible books could fill a collection gap.

Reluctant readers who like survival stories will go along for each adventure. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4036-1

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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