Quirky, charming and life-affirming, supernatural style.

THE WRAP-UP LIST

Some people die; others simply “depart.”

No one knows why, but 1 percent of all deaths are “departures.” With U.S. troops overseas on the brink of war, they are on the rise. After receiving a Death Letter from her Death, Hercule, 16-year-old Gabriela Rivera has one week to write her Wrap-Up List of things she hopes will happen in her final days and to prepare for her departure. While she wishes for a first kiss from the popular football starting receiver and a Pardon from her fate, she also selflessly hopes for first kisses for her three best friends. Despite the seemingly moribund subject matter, Gabriela’s first-person narration gushes with dark humor. Topping everything are the Deaths themselves. These skinny, 8-foot-tall, silvery figures, which seem to move by swimming in air, have to stand in line for coffee just like mortals when awaiting a departure. As the quick but thoughtful story chronicles each day before the Latina teen’s departure, the fulfillment of the Wrap-Up List leads to many surprises, including the real cause of her grandfather’s World War II–related death and the questioning of her long-standing religious faith. But if Gabriela wants that Pardon, she needs to find out Hercule’s Noble Weakness—and fast.

Quirky, charming and life-affirming, supernatural style. (Supernatural fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-82410-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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