An addicting thriller that will make anyone who loves ballet clamor for another installment.

SHINY BROKEN PIECES

From the Tiny Pretty Things series , Vol. 2

Three girls compete for two coveted company spots in New York’s prestigious American Ballet Company, and someone is willing to kill for them.

Gossip Girl meets Black Swan in Charaipotra and Clayton’s drama-filled sequel to Tiny Pretty Things (2015), which returns readers to the privileged Upper East Side dance conservatory and a world fueled by diet pills, dirty secrets, and unbridled ambition. This novel’s diverse cast of ballerinas retains its delightful adolescent cattiness, though each girl has been shaken and hardened, still haunted by the events of the first book. Once again, three protagonists rotate narration: Gigi, the talented black outsider whose career was nearly ended by deadly hazing, June, the Korean-American girl from the wrong side of the Queensboro Bridge, and Bette, the white, wealthy, disgraced former queen bee, determined to prove her innocence. Each girl’s emotional battle with perfectionism feels individual and brutally authentic. The book’s astute focus on ballet’s ability to enrich, ennoble, and also consume the lives of its dancers is what provides this story with its delicious spark. Equal parts mystery and social commentary, the novel is engrossing and titillating without being hyperbolic, which is a testament to the authors’ talent and a reflection of an art form that simultaneously raises young women to the highest heights while reducing them to shells of themselves.

An addicting thriller that will make anyone who loves ballet clamor for another installment. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234242-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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