The identity and marginalization issues loom large, but instead of being shoehorned into side characters, they're scooped up...

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CHANGERS

KIM

From the Changers series , Vol. 3

Ethan woke up his freshman year as a white girl, sophomore year as a black boy, and now junior year as a fat Asian girl named Kim.

Kim's initial self-loathing for her larger self is difficult to take but highlights what can come with being fat: the limp "pretty face" compliments, the unwanted self-presentation advice, acting small to make up for taking up physical space. Kim makes friends with a theater-obsessed white boy—who refers to himself as a “total gay cliché”—who helps her stow her shame and dance freely, which leads to liberation in the rest of her life. When Kim's invited to join an Asian student club, she feels like an imposter because she wasn't raised with traditions that inform the Asian-American kids' lives—a feeling also experienced by children of immigrants whose parents have valued assimilation over identity. The love interest through two books, Audrey, is back, but Kim's relationship with her can't be anything like it had been—or can it? In this third book, it becomes clear that Cooper and Glock-Cooper are writing for the long game, and they've made some revelations that may help answer questions raised by the first two books. The plot is complicated (there’s even a glossary in the back), but Kim's voice and the banter between characters are funny, and they feel real.

The identity and marginalization issues loom large, but instead of being shoehorned into side characters, they're scooped up and taken into a deeper, entertaining, fantastic narrative. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61775-489-0

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Black Sheep/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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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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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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