Compelling and suspenseful from Page 1; Clara and Hailey pull readers into their unique world and don’t let go.

READ REVIEW

GEMINI

Twins Clara and Hailey, 17, are as close as it gets—conjoined at the lower back, entangled internally, sharing lower body sensations—but each harbors different dreams.

Their parents, teachers at a local college, have raised and sheltered them from unwanted publicity in tiny, largely white Bear Pass, California, where the twins are expected to live out their lives. Rebel Hailey, with dyed pink hair and a butterfly tattoo (placed where Clara couldn’t feel it), dreams of art school, travel, and fellow artist Alek. Fearful Clara’s stifled her longing to study the vast universe and accepted their foreclosed future until a new student, Max, arrives to awaken new longings. Is surgical separation possible? While leavened with comfortable teen-literature tropes, this debut isn’t high-concept–fueled candy floss. The twins’ distance from “normal,” all that circumscribes their conjoined world, is ever present, and the struggle to sustain their senses of self is visceral. Profound disabilities and exceptional gifts can be two sides of a single coin. Even if the twins survive separation, the benefits and gifts attachment has given them will be lost, with no guarantee of healthy life thereafter. Readers who’ve wondered why some choose to live with a disability that might be “cured” will find plenty to ponder here. As developments in genetics reshape the medical landscape, these questions will only resonate further.

Compelling and suspenseful from Page 1; Clara and Hailey pull readers into their unique world and don’t let go. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5677-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more