A creepy literary adaptation to please existing Sabrina fans and that may entice new ones.

SEASON OF THE WITCH

From the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series , Vol. 1

A prequel to Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Sabrina Spellman lives with her aunts, Zelda and Hilda, and cousin Ambrose in their funeral home, which they run because “even witches need to make a living.” As the daughter of a warlock, Sabrina possesses magical abilities that may be further realized once she has her dark baptism and enrolls in the Academy of Unseen Arts. But her half-mortal self is hesitant to leave behind her friends, Roz and Susie, and her sweet, artsy boyfriend, Harvey. Pressured by Zelda to uphold the Spellman family name, she is mocked by her potential Academy peers for only being half witch, and to top it all off, she doubts Harvey’s feelings for her. She and Ambrose cast a spell which intensifies Harvey’s infatuation, leaving Sabrina overwhelmed rather than reassured. And when she turns to an admiring wishing-well spirit for help, matters only worsen. The narrative alternates between chapters told from Sabrina’s point of view and those titled “What Happens in the Dark”—the latter offering insight into various characters’ weaknesses and fears. Lack of fully rounded character development hinders readers’ full investment, but glimpses into the characters’ darker sides will pique interest. The racial makeup of the cast reflects that of the television show: Sabrina is white, Ambrose is black, and there is diversity in several supporting characters.

A creepy literary adaptation to please existing Sabrina fans and that may entice new ones. (Horror. 13-adult)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32604-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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