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OF DREAMS AND DESTINY

From the Rosetta Academy series , Vol. 3

Another enjoyable romance for fans of this fractured fairy tale series.

A heartbroken girl must learn to trust again—before a mysterious illness claims her entire school.

After being cruelly betrayed by a boy, Rosetta Academy senior Daphne Elizabeth “DE” McKinley is done with dating. Encouraged by her best friend, Jaya, to consult town psychic Madame Olivera, DE receives an ominous warning about an impending storm—and a death. Madame Olivera also gives her a note stating that, with an open heart, DE can vanquish the storm. Unconvinced, she dismisses it as a hoax. She also eschews love, even resisting handsome new boy Xander Murthy. But DE and Xander find a strange doll from 1873 in the woods, and after DE pricks her finger on something sharp in its body, the academy is enveloped in a severe snowstorm, and students start succumbing to a comalike sleeping sickness. When Xander reveals that his great-great-great-uncle, a Rosetta student, mysteriously died in his sleep during the great storm of 1873, the two work together to uncover long-kept secrets and save their friends. Told from the alternating perspectives of DE and Xander, this retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” includes some appearances by characters from previous entries and is a fun addition to the series. DE experiences many relatable post-breakup feelings before finding herself again, and Xander’s family history touches on generational cycles of addiction. DE is white; Xander is Indian, Irish, Scottish, and West African.

Another enjoyable romance for fans of this fractured fairy tale series. (map) (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9781534417601

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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