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

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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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A lush and darkly twisted modern fairy tale.

HOUSE OF HOLLOW

Ten years ago, the three Hollow sisters disappeared from an Edinburgh street while on holiday. A month later, they came back.

When Iris, Vivi, and Grey returned, they couldn’t remember anything of their ordeal. Their dark hair turned white, and their blue eyes became black. They sported identical hook-shaped scars on their necks. Despite their altered appearances, their parents were elated to return home to London with them. However, their father soon began to believe that they were not really his daughters, a conviction that led to his suicide. Since then, the story of now 17-year-old Iris and her older sisters has been like catnip to online sleuths, and their ethereal beauty and uncanny ability to bend people to their wills and intoxicate them with dangerous desire add to their mystique. When Grey, now an internationally famous fashion designer and model, goes missing, Iris and Vivi, with help from Grey’s Korean British boyfriend, Tyler, set out to find her and the truth behind their disappearance. Their search takes on a new urgency when they find a decomposing body blooming with white flowers in Grey’s apartment and they are pursued by a murderous man wearing a horned bull’s skull mask. Iris’ smart and assured narration easily carries a fast-paced story entwining themes of grief and loss with elements of folklore and some very inventive body horror. The pervasive feeling of dread builds to a shocking twist.

A lush and darkly twisted modern fairy tale. (Horror. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11034-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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