Aliens may be attacking, but teen angst still holds sway in this reluctant reader series.

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THE FIELD TRIP

From the Attack on Earth series

A high school choir field trip comes to a halt when alien invaders generate an electromagnetic pulse, grounding planes, turning off phones, and shutting down power plants.

Kayla has hated fellow soprano Steph since third grade. Now high school juniors, the two are even more strident in their rivalry. Their bickering and constant one-upmanship continue as resources dwindle and a long hike looks inevitable. An alien flyover and a carjacking leave the group stranded and force Kayla and Steph to bury the hatchet before their conflict buries them all. In The Fallout, by Glasko Klein, a mall seems like the perfect place to lie low and stock up on supplies following an alien attack, but 16-year-old Nina never imagined hiding out with the school weirdo, her ex-boyfriend, and a superjock. When their saviors start acting more like prison guards, Sanjay and his friends decide to break out of their school in Lockdown, by Raelyn Drake (Realm of Mystics, 2017, etc.). In Getting Home by Stephanie Perry Moore (Sit on Top, 2015, etc.), Bailey and her younger brother, Blake, are caught on a bus between Atlanta and Montgomery when an EMP attack shuts everything down. While an alien attack is the common thread, these stories are less about extraterrestrial problems and more about issues common to many teenagers. Characters struggle with pride, anger, lost love, rivalries, and first crushes. While the majority of characters are assumed white, names indicate ethnic diversity in Lockdown, and the characters are implied African-American in Getting Home.

Aliens may be attacking, but teen angst still holds sway in this reluctant reader series. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2573-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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