DESTROY ALL MONSTERS

Four years ago, when best friends Solomon and Ash were 12, something happened that neither remembers.

The two reacted in very different ways: Ash struggles with depression, and Solomon has succumbed to serious mental illness. He dwells in Darkside, where dinosaurs live alongside humans and othersiders, humans with magical powers. In Darkside, Ash is a Refugee Princess under a spell, and Solomon has a crush on her bodyguard, Niv, who for safety has moved her from one undisclosed location to another ever since the riot when othersiders and humans clashed. In Ash’s reality, she attends Hudson High, where her Solomon sometimes attends class and his stepfather, hunky Mr. Barrett, is football coach and vice principal. She also hooks up with Connor, Solomon’s stepbrother. In Solomon’s world, a wave of anti-othersider violence coincides with vandalism and dangerous pranks in Ash’s, and the time the friends spend together in both places jars memories of the traumatic event that shattered their lives. Is it possible that their struggling friendship could be instrumental in saving two worlds? Miller (Blackfish City, 2018, etc.) delivers a tale of friendship and dovetailing realities: Each teen narrates from their own reality in alternating chapters, and the two narratives bleed into one another in a way that at times borders on confusing. The worldbuilding in Darkside will feel familiar to fans of fantasy. Ash is white; Solomon is white and Jewish.

A darkly complex read. (Fantasy. 15-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-245674-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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ANNA K AWAY

From the Anna K series , Vol. 2

A tale of love and loss that spans the globe.

Instead of having a carefree summer, biracial (Korean/White) Anna is sent away from the familiarity of New York, her friends, the past school year’s scandal—and the memories of her dead boyfriend, Alexia Vronsky. While struggling with grief, her shattered self-image, and an uncertain future, Anna attempts to reclaim her summer in Seoul, where she knows only her father and grandmother. Beatrice, Alexia’s cousin, juggles her clingy girlfriend and falling for a California surfer even as she represses her grief. Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, plans for an amazing summer party, although Lolly, his girlfriend, is away at theater camp. Steven’s best friend, Dustin, and Kimmie, Lolly’s younger sister, are equally nervous about their first sexual experience together. This sequel to Anna K (2020) contains fewer mentions of luxury brands, and the characters exhibit an increased awareness of the impacts of wealth and socio-economic status. The novel also touches on issues of addiction, sexism, cultural differences, fame, relationships, love, and mental health; in particular, the portrayals of living with grief and redefining the self after a loved one dies shine. Despite some awkward time skips, the humor, pop-culture references, and characters’ distinct voices strengthen the story. Fans of the first novel will enjoy this follow-up, which is also accessible to readers new to Anna and her world. Some major characters are White; Dustin is Black and Jewish, and there is diversity in the supporting cast.

Entertaining. (cast of characters) (Fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23646-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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