Clever fun.

READ REVIEW

KILL ME SOFTLY

A girl struggles to escape her fairy-tale fate in this suspenseful fantasy.

Mira will turn 16 in a few days. Though she loves her godmothers, she wants to return to the city of her birth and find her parents’ graves, one of the many things that her godmothers forbid. She runs away and travels to Beau Rivage, not knowing that the town is magical and that she risks death by returning. She quickly meets a boy she instantly dislikes, Blue, who has blue, spiked hair and seems to enjoy insulting her. But Blue’s older brother Felix charms her and gives her a free luxury room in the family’s casino hotel. Mira can’t understand why everyone warns her not to spend time with Felix, and she quickly falls in love with him. Finally, Mira learns that she, with the other teens in the story, is cursed to live out fairy tales. She finds herself caught in not just one foretold fate that threatens her, but two—and the second could kill her. Cross, who knows her fairy tales, weaves a number of them into her story, giving them interesting twists as she applies them to her vulnerable and rebellious teen characters. Earnest Freddie, cynical Viv and captivating Felix all stand out as the archetypes they’re supposed to embody, and as individuals as well.

Clever fun. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60684-323-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Egmont USA

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the...

CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE

From the Legacy of Orisha series , Vol. 2

In this follow-up to Children of Blood and Bone (2018), Zélie and company are back, and the future of Orïsha hangs in the balance.

Zélie, now a maji Reaper, has achieved her goal and brought magic back to Orïsha, but at great cost. Grief and loss are strong themes throughout the book, compounded by guilt for Zélie, who feels responsible for her father’s death. Zélie and her older brother, Tzain, try to help Princess Amari ascend the throne, believing her family dead—but Queen Nehanda, Amari’s mother, is very much alive and more formidable than they could imagine. The trio join the Iyika, a band of rebel maji working to protect their persecuted people from threats new and old. Though the characters’ trauma reads as real and understandable, their decisions don’t always feel sensible or logical, often stemming from a lack of communication or forethought, which may leave readers frustrated. Though still commendable for its detailed worldbuilding, with an ending compelling enough to keep fans interested in the next installment, much of the book feels like navigating minefields of characters’ ill-advised decisions. All characters are black except for a secondary character with silky black hair, tan skin, and gray eyes “like teardrops.”

Second installments in trilogies sometimes slump—here’s hoping the third book is a return to the vibrancy of the first. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17099-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more