The intricately woven narrative threads come together in a suspenseful denouement sure to leave readers hoping for another...

THE KNOWING

Nearly 400 years after the events in The Forgetting (2016), Canaan, long abandoned, its whereabouts lost, has devolved into an evil myth, while New Canaan, the rigid, class-stratified community that’s replaced it, faces growing threats, internal and external.

New Canaan’s rulers, the Knowing, live underground and are served by Outsiders, impoverished surface dwellers. The Knowing have perfect memory; to recall is to re-experience events as if for the first time. For those like black-haired, brown-skinned Samara who are unable to “cache,” or repress traumatic memories, suicide is common. Secretly helping Outsiders, Samara may have unintentionally endangered them. Tortured by horrific memories, she escapes to find Canaan’s ruins and to Forget. There, she runs into Beckett and Jill, two Americans from Earth’s spaceship Centauri III, its mission to learn the fate of predecessor missions. Beckett, multiracial (Chinese/Latinx) son of two anthropologists, is intrigued by Samara, who talks them into returning to New Canaan with her. His growing chemistry with Samara angers Jill, the bright, blonde, white daughter of an archaeologist. Uneasy with Jill’s ambition and expectations, Beckett’s alarmed by his father’s warning that Centauri III has a secret agenda, one that Jill may share. New Canaan, too, has surprises in store, including a burgeoning rebellion. Diverse, well-drawn characters abound, but in the riveting power struggles that ensue, women are dominant players, ruthless ideologues willing to sacrifice all that interferes with the goal.

The intricately woven narrative threads come together in a suspenseful denouement sure to leave readers hoping for another installment. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-94524-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded.

ANGEL THIEVES

A Texas bayou holds memories and secrets, weaving together people and animals through connected histories.

Buffalo Bayou takes her place as part of an ensemble cast that spans nearly two centuries. Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is a white boy who works alongside his father stealing angel statues from cemeteries for an antiques dealer, and Soleil Broussard is a 16-year-old Creole Christian with a tiny honey bear jar tattooed on her wrist. The two attend school together in present-day Houston, Texas, but the story intertwines their connection with stories of slaves and an ocelot in a narrative that runs away like the rushing of a river. Texas is a gorgeous backdrop for the story, eliciting haunting imagery that spotlights the natural beauty of the state. Each character helps piece together a quilt of experiences that stream from the omnipresent bayou who sees, hears, and protects, and the revelations of their overlapping connections are well-paced throughout. The novel is less successful, however, at underscoring why there are so many voices battling for space in the text. Too-short vignettes that are rather haphazardly forced together provide glimpses into the lives of the characters but make it difficult to follow all of the threads. While an author’s note offers historical background explaining the inspiration for the characters, it does not provide sufficient cohesion.

Moving imagery is muddied by disjointed character representation in a novel that feels overcrowded. (author’s note) (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2109-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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New mysteries—Does the cure work? Why are teenagers exploding?—will keep Jessie's story going for at least one more volume.

BARGAINS AND BETRAYALS

From the 13 to Life series , Vol. 3

Volume three in the 13 to Life series begins in a mental asylum and ends with an unexpected burst of girl power.

Jessie's life is complicated: Her current boyfriend Pietr's a werewolf, her ex-boyfriend controls minds and her blood is a vital ingredient in the cure for lycanthropy. To top it all off, she's been thrown into a pseudo-Victorian mental institution of dubious legitimacy. The narrative, alternating between Jessie's point of view and that of Pietr’s human brother, leaves no point of drama unexploited. There are imprisoned mothers and battered girlfriends, Interpol and the Russian mob, drugged cafeteria food and zombie-golem-robot thugs. Jessie and her friends are determined to rescue Pietr’s mother from a shadowy organization that is probably not the CIA, but at what cost? It's not always clear what's going on, with prose so terse (one-to-two–sentence paragraphs are the norm) that vital information is often left unsaid. Still, all the players manage to come together for a final shootout that gives the girls an opportunity to get a small amount of their own vengeance—a brief moment of respite in the institutionalization, domestic violence, rape, medical experimentation and other constant violence against women that permeates Jessie's story.

New mysteries—Does the cure work? Why are teenagers exploding?—will keep Jessie's story going for at least one more volume. (Paranormal romance. 13-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-60916-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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