Though occasionally uneven, this poetic, Frankenstein-esque tale forms a page-turning whole.

SPARE AND FOUND PARTS

A lonely, motherless girl with a clockwork heart risks everything to create a mechanical friend in a futuristic Ireland where computers are forbidden.

After an ill-defined technological crisis known as the Turn caused a devastating epidemic, Ireland was divided into Pale and Pasture—sick and well—and now spurns all but the most necessary technology. The citizens of the Pale are all missing parts, but prostheses are "augmentations" rather than disadvantages. Gay and gender-fluid characters appear without remark. Dark-haired, brown-skinned Nell Starling-Crane, whose father fashions the sophisticated prostheses, is nevertheless set apart; she's the only citizen with a mechanical heart, the loud ticking of which makes her self-conscious. Contributing to adult society is crucial for avoiding a life in stonework or marriage, but despite a looming project deadline, Nell has no ideas…until she decides to build a sentient android companion from ancient computer parts, defying the law against artificial intelligence. Griffin explores the ethical quandaries of progress, love, class, and ambition in language as ornate as the characters' decorated prostheses; sometimes a phrase catches the eye, and sometimes the heavy mix of metaphors almost camouflages the story underneath. Chapters alternate between third-person accounts of Nell's exploits and second-person observations of Nell's past and present. The observer is not always clear, which makes the perspective shifts disorienting. Nevertheless, the plot is compelling, full of secrets, blackmail, and betrayals that resolve at just the right moments—convenient, yes, but satisfying.

Though occasionally uneven, this poetic, Frankenstein-esque tale forms a page-turning whole. (Science fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-240888-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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