A rising, rousing bout fueled by brains, brawn, and belligerency.

CHESSBOXER

A grieving chess prodigy ups her game.

“Intelligence and irritability are a bad combination,” writes 17-year-old Leah—and she should know. Massive quantities of both drive her to not only quit tournament chess just as she’s about to score a grandmaster rating, but also, in the two years since her father’s death, to mercilessly savage anyone who tries to get close to her. The game won’t let her go, though, and after some lucrative but painful experiences as a chess hustler in Washington Square Park, she finds a perfect outlet for her passion and rage in chessboxing—an actual sport alternating timed rounds of boxing and chess. Readers who regard chess as a genteel, cerebral pursuit are in for a shock as the game action (described with technical precision) is presented in language as compellingly tense and brutal as that of the rings. Readers will also admire the new friends and adult supporters (including a grief therapist) who are willing to look past Leah’s caustic shell. Eventually she’s taking on Zelda “The Reaper” Haas, a scary opponent tattooed up to and including the eyeballs, for the women’s world championship. Told through blog posts, Leah’s narrative seethes with raw feelings and combines taut suspense with dizzying lows and highs, even occasional hilarity, as it tracks her progress toward learning to live with herself and with devastating loss. The main cast presents White.

A rising, rousing bout fueled by brains, brawn, and belligerency. (afterword) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78344-840-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Andersen/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations.

CARAVAL

From the Caraval series , Vol. 1

Magic, mystery, and love intertwine and invite in this newest take on the “enchanted circus” trope.

Sisters raised by their abusive father, a governor of a colonial backwater in a world vaguely reminiscent of the late 18th century, Scarlett and Donatella each long for something more. Scarlett, olive-skinned, dark of hair and attitude, longs for Caraval, the fabled, magical circus helmed by the possibly evil Master Legend Santos, while blonde, sunny Tella finds comfort in drink and the embraces of various men. A slightly awkward start, with inconsistencies of attitude and setting, rapidly smooths out when they, along with handsome “golden-brown” sailor Julian, flee to Caraval on the eve of Scarlett’s arranged marriage. Tella disappears, and Scarlett must navigate a nighttime world of magic to find her. Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. Dresses can be purchased for secrets or days of life; clocks can become doors; bridges move: this is an inventive and original circus, laced with an edge of horror. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets.

Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-09525-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

more