Entertaining enough.

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HIDDEN

From the Firelight series , Vol. 3

This conclusion to the Firelight trilogy continues the conflict between a dragon-girl and those who hunt her kind.

Jacinda is a draki, a being that can morph from human form into a fire-breathing, flying dragonlike creature. She has her own society but wants to escape it with her human boyfriend, Will, who comes from a family that hunts the draki. This installment begins with Jacinda intentionally caught and imprisoned in an underground facility in which rather nasty scientists do research on draki. She plots with Will and her enforced mate, Cassian, to escape. Once the attack commences, exciting scenes ensue as the group fights their way out with a new, dangerous draki in tow. Jordan keeps the focus mostly on action even as she weaves in the forbidden-romance elements required by this genre, although the romantic conflict was mostly resolved in the previous installment. Plenty of rivalries among Jacinda and other draki spice things up. Two new characters, Deghan, the long-imprisoned draki, and little Lia appeal, although the story allows Lia’s fate to dangle unresolved. Chase scenes, near-captures and a late-game betrayal or two keep the narrative moving. Except for the subplot regarding Lia, everything comes to an ending that will satisfy readers. New readers would best start with the beginning of the trilogy.

Entertaining enough. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-193512-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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