Charlotte’s bleak tale provides an imaginative twist on the timeless battle between dark and light and, of course, sets up a...

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A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL

Yet another angel in human form reluctantly faces her uncertain destiny in a gripping supernatural romance.

High schooler Charlotte’s life has been controlled by the Need: Periodically she experiences an irresistible compulsion to locate a particular person and provide some kind of emotional assistance, never understanding why. But now the episodes are happening every day, dominating her and impossible to explain away to her best friend, rich girl Sarah, and rock-steady boyfriend, Harlin. Onika, a sexy young woman who haunts her nightmares, may hold the key to what’s happening to Charlotte. What she discovers about her future is painful and disturbing. She’s a supernatural being, and when, way too soon, she’s forced back to the light—akin to dying—no one will remember her. Her first-person narration captures the terror of dying young, which is here intensified by the prospect of the erasure of her existence once she’s gone. Realistic dialogue and believable teen situations—opportunities to sneak out for sexual encounters, the ready availability of alcohol, the ugly outcome of Sarah’s rejection of a predatory classmate—all serve to make the fantasy elements more believable. While characters are predictable and superficial, the inventive plot-driven narrative fully conveys Charlotte’s desolation.

Charlotte’s bleak tale provides an imaginative twist on the timeless battle between dark and light and, of course, sets up a potential sequel. (Supernatural romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-200824-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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