The almost-dystopian setting of post-flood Aberdeen makes a beautifully surreal setting, even if Keeley's journey can't...

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THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD

When disaster strikes a working-class town, the class clown learns her coping mechanisms don't help anyone.

Keeley is completely psyched for her senior year in tiny, largely white Aberdeen. Unfortunately, after a spring so cold and wet that kids are wearing thermals and winter coats in May, the river floods, destroying many homes and closing the high school for good. As the worst of the floodwaters recede but the rains don't stop, the mayor and governor encourage the locals to abandon the town, offering hefty insurance payouts. Keeley's dad thinks the governor (who plans a profitable dam) intentionally keeps the town in poor repair. Maybe the conspiracy is real, but in a town of boarded-up shopfronts and saturated homes, what options does anyone have? Keeley, a jokester who always takes every joke that one step too far, ramps up her high jinks to distract her glum friends. Through a post-evacuation frame story and a seemingly endless collection of hinted-at mysteries, unreliable narrator Keeley escalates her increasingly bad behavior, alienating her best friend. The buildup is lovely, but the payoff of Keeley's growth comes both too late and too suddenly, happening all at once as Aberdeen's clock winds down. Nonetheless, it’s a richly layered portrayal of bad boys, girl pranksters, even conspiracies.

The almost-dystopian setting of post-flood Aberdeen makes a beautifully surreal setting, even if Keeley's journey can't quite carry the narrative . (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5229-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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