WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW

A haunting tale of possession that explores the ghostly landscape of dreams and nightmares—but more importantly, the...

Porter (Vassa in the Night, 2016, etc.) presents a ghost story in which the dead wait on the far side of dreams.

Dashiell, a white boy with irresistible gray eyes and strawberry-gold hair, is two months dead. His younger siblings, 16-year-old twins Ruby and Everett, also white but not nearly so beautiful, know this, but they’re also starting to realize that he isn’t actually gone. He’s come back for them. Ruby would do anything to get her beloved older brother back, but Everett isn’t quite sure where he stands; both must examine whether Dashiell is a danger to them—and perhaps always was. They also have to decide who they are in relation to the force he’s forever been in their lives. The story’s uneven, with prose that sometimes moves from poetic to overwrought and characters that vacillate between compelling and absurd. Nevertheless, it delivers a deliciously disturbing and engaging portrait of the complexities of familial love and takes readers to the boundaries between innocence and corruption, self-preservation and sacrifice, the dreaming and the dead. Alternating first-person chapters (including all three siblings and the voice of the villain, among others) aid in portraying the nuances at play.

A haunting tale of possession that explores the ghostly landscape of dreams and nightmares—but more importantly, the particular dynamics among siblings, both oppressive and redemptive. (Horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8056-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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DIVINE RIVALS

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy.

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A war between gods plays havoc with mortals and their everyday lives.

In a time of typewriters and steam engines, Iris Winnow awaits word from her older brother, who has enlisted on the side of Enva the Skyward goddess. Alcohol abuse led to her mother’s losing her job, and Iris has dropped out of school and found work utilizing her writing skills at the Oath Gazette. Hiding the stress of her home issues behind a brave face, Iris competes for valuable assignments that may one day earn her the coveted columnist position. Her rival for the job is handsome and wealthy Roman Kitt, whose prose entrances her so much she avoids reading his articles. At home, she writes cathartic letters to her brother, never posting them but instead placing them in her wardrobe, where they vanish overnight. One day Iris receives a reply, which, along with other events, pushes her to make dramatic life decisions. Magic plays a quiet role in this story, and readers may for a time forget there is anything supernatural going on. This is more of a wartime tale of broken families, inspired youths, and higher powers using people as pawns. It flirts with clichéd tropes but also takes some startling turns. Main characters are assumed White; same-sex marriages and gender equality at the warfront appear to be the norm in this world.

Ideal for readers seeking perspectives on war, with a heavy dash of romance and touch of fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-85743-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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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