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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Likable characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue will make this a winning choice for reluctant readers and science-fiction...

WHAT GOES UP

Teens vie for two spots in NASA’s Interworlds Agency in this fast-paced, funny caper through the near future.

NASA’s Interworlds Agency exists to explore, assess, engage, and protect Earth in the event that intelligent life forms are discovered on other planets—a real likelihood in the near-future setting of Kennedy’s previous novel, Learning to Swear in America (2016)—and they are looking for a new team to join their ranks. Rosa Hayashi and Eddie Toivonen are two teenagers from different sides of the tracks whose outside-the-box thinking lands them at the top of a pack of the best and brightest, along with another pair that serves as an understudy team due to Eddie’s “unusual test results.” The dynamic between the teens and their instructor, the long-suffering, unconventional Reg, is by turns competitive, sweet, and downright hilarious. By the time the ETs invade, the dynamic quartet makes the bold decision to bring the show to them on their own planet—a parallel version of Earth where they come face to face with slightly different versions of themselves. Mixed-race Rosa wearily rises above microaggressions by describing herself as “an American of French and Japanese descent,” Reg is black, and Eddie is a white boy from a lower socio-economic background, rounding out a diverse cast of characters whose relationships develop organically and realistically.

Likable characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue will make this a winning choice for reluctant readers and science-fiction fans alike. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61963-912-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit.

THESE HOLLOW VOWS

Brie risks the deadly land of the Fae to save her sister.

Brie doesn’t trust many people other than Jas, her eternally hopeful sister, and Sebastian, mage apprentice and Brie’s secret love (as if she had time for romance). Brie struggles to meet the payments for the magical contracts binding their lives to Madame Vivias, supplementing her cleaning work by stealing from the rich. While the land of Faerie tempts other girls with word of a castle, a lavish ball, and a fae prince seeking a wife, Brie mistrusts the creatures who capitalize on humanity’s greed. When Jas’ contract is sold to the fae, Brie braves the golden Seelie queen’s court, meets the noble Prince Ronan, and travels on to the Unseelie king’s shadow court. In the process she discovers love, historical secrets, atrocities, and her own hidden strength. While many elements regarding the fae and a love triangle will feel familiar to fans of the genre, and the magic could have been more fleshed out, discussions of power, inequity, trust, and hope expand the worldbuilding in refreshing ways. Similarly, consideration of the balance between truth and secrets, lies and stories, is intriguing as it’s applied to characters, relationships, and historical lore. Despite certain predictable reveals, the plot itself, which starts off slowly, picks up and is pleasantly convoluted with multiple satisfying surprises. Major human characters read as White.

An entertaining fantasy set in a world that readers will want to revisit. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-38657-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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