A slapdash tale marred by risible errors and erratic pacing


This contemporary thriller opens the morning after a hurricane ravages a Massachusetts island.

The storm’s destroyed homes, flooded businesses, heaved sailboats onto the village green and left residents without power or ferry service. Orchestrating a community cleanup, Eliza, a lifelong resident and concerned high school senior, finds an odd letter in the island lighthouse, apparently a death threat against a girl named Bess. The letter upsets Eliza’s parents; Bess was her mother’s best friend. Her drowning, some feel, was no accident. Eliza (why is unclear) disregards warnings not to stir up the 25-year-old tragedy, but her investigations are stonewalled. Her classmates don’t know the story, and their parents won’t discuss it. Charlie, son of prominent island innkeepers, is an exception, but does the mystery interest him or is it just Eliza? Readers will find it hard to care. The struggle of the year-round islanders—rugged, working folk—to recover is a major plot driver but post-9/11 feels jarringly dated. Hurricane Katrina and FEMA are briefly referenced, but the now-familiar vocabulary and tools of emergency planning—first responders, weather radio, social networking, smartphones—are missing. Given the island’s uncoordinated recovery efforts, it’s fortunate that Gloucester, the bustling mainland seaport and apparently miraculously untouched by the hurricane, is just 9 miles away.

A slapdash tale marred by risible errors and erratic pacing . (Mystery. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61695-437-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.


A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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