A hair-raising, explosive thriller.

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DEADFALL

Troubled twin brothers go from the frying pan into the fire when they encounter a girl who needs their help in the cold wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

Sixteen-year-old twins Ty and Cory Bic’s father, Benny, was an unstable grifter and a cruel and abusive father, especially hard on overweight, thoughtful Cory. Following Benny’s death in a fire, the boys, who are presumably white, are shuttled to Luster, Oregon, where they find stability with their new foster parents, the Motts, whose powerful patriarch is on the cusp of a Senate run. After stumbling on a damaging secret about Mr. Mott, the boys take off, discovering a wrecked car in the woods with a zip-tied teen girl in the trunk. The driver is nowhere to be found. Cory is left to tend to the seemingly mute girl after being separated from Ty. As her condition worsens and the wolves, human and otherwise, circle the door of their hideout, Cory realizes that the considerable sins of their father are coming back to haunt them. Told in flashbacks and Cory’s tense, present-day narration, Wallenfels’ (Bad Call, 2017, etc.) tightly plotted roller coaster ride features very bad guys doing very bad things and fraught family drama. Aspiring chef and avid gamer Cory is worth rooting for, and his complex relationship with the volatile Ty, plus themes like physical abuse and abuse of power, adds depth.

A hair-raising, explosive thriller. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-368-01426-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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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