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

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

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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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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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