A lackluster mystery that bows under the weight of narrative technique.

IT ENDS WITH YOU

Teen drama with a murderous twist.

When 17-year-old British girl Eva goes missing, her friends and family hope for the best—but when her body is found murdered in the woods, suspicion quickly turns toward her boyfriend, Luke. The relationship between Luke and Eva is slowly revealed to have been toxic and damaging, making Luke the perfect suspect, but that role is actually quite popular, with Eva having had a secret relationship and suspicious strangers appearing at pivotal moments in the narrative. But can Luke’s lingering allies find out enough to exonerate him before his trial? As the story is told in multiple voices, including through Eva’s diary, online exchanges, and narrative from several characters’ first-person points of view, the drama and mystery have to work hard to surface amongst the confusing shifts in perspectives. Twists and turns abound in the novel, though often without logic or meaningful contribution to the plot, such as when Luke’s friend hears that he is pleading guilty to Eva’s murder, but confusingly, he claims he only said as much to a fellow inmate to seem more intimidating. Characters mainly default to white with the exception of some secondary characters.

A lackluster mystery that bows under the weight of narrative technique. (Mystery. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-349-00317-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atom

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC Comics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

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