Page-turning action made even more engrossing by a rare emotional core.

SHATTER CITY

From the Impostors-Westerfeld series , Vol. 2

Frey will do anything to find her twin sister as their father works to conquer more unsuspecting cities.

After once again assuming the role of her sister, Rafi, Frey toils in her father’s tower, easily fooling him and playing up the drama of her engagement to Col Palafox for the feeds. But she’s a prisoner; both she and Col wear bomb collars that will explode if they attempt escape. Meanwhile, Rafi has taken on the mantle of Frey, working with rebels in the wild who are demanding their father’s punishment. But their father has plans: He’s set his focus on the destruction of the city of Paz, the last place Rafi was seen. But once Frey and Col set out on their mission, it becomes clear that Rafi doesn’t want to be found. Even so, Frey will do anything to locate her, though she’ll have to confront the fact that maybe she doesn’t know her sister at all, and she certainly doesn’t know herself. Propelled by intricate worldbuilding and heart-pounding action, there’s never a dull moment. Frey’s journey to self-discovery takes the forefront, and it’s hard-won, thoughtful, and complex. Readers will jones for the next installment, eager to witness their heroine take on more thrilling adventures. As before, race is not defined in this European-inflected fantasy world. A nonbinary character has a larger presence in this book.

Page-turning action made even more engrossing by a rare emotional core. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-15041-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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