An engrossing and topical techno-thriller.

READ REVIEW

TAKE ME WITH YOU

Four teenagers find a mysterious device that tells them what to do in this timely science fiction thriller.

When Eden Montgomery, Eli Alvarez, Marwan Gamal, and Ilanka Sokolova are summoned to an empty classroom after school one day and find a shiny black cube waiting for them, they have no idea they are about to embark on a dangerous journey of self-discovery. The cube—named Aizel—gives them a number of rules that must be followed, including: “DO NOT TELL ANYONE ABOUT THE DEVICE. DO NOT LEAVE THE DEVICE UNATTENDED…TAKE ME WITH YOU...OR ELSE.” What does Aizel want? Where did it come from? And why did it choose the four of them in particular? As time passes, Aizel’s orders become increasingly terrifying and invasive, and the group has to decide what to do before it is too late. Chapters alternate among all four characters, and each teenager is well developed and richly portrayed in a high-energy story that allows for character growth against a backdrop that looks at digital technology, social media, and the dangers of data mining as well as issues of online privacy and artificial intelligence. There is also an important and skillfully executed subplot about growing white nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. Eden is coded as white and Eli as Latinx; Ilanka and Marwan (who identifies as culturally Muslim) have immigrant parents from Russia and Egypt, respectively.

An engrossing and topical techno-thriller. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-748-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more