A treat for industrial-rock lovers; a pleasant summer read for others.

AMPLIFIED

This chronicle of a shy guitarist's summer living with a rock band poses bigger questions than it answers but tells a likable story nonetheless.

Kicked out of the house by her strict father after she decides to defer her college admission, Jasmine is determined to prove that she can make it on her own. Looking for a room to rent in Santa Cruz, she finds an industrial band seeking a live-in bandmate and tries out. Kelly (Harmonic Feedback, 2010) relates each musical challenge—Jasmine's tryout, a bad gig, a final, triumphant performance—as a tense action sequence. The author gives enough imagery and context that even the musically uninitiated will appreciate her descriptions, though readers who understand licks, riffs, arpeggios, EBows and wah pedals will get a fuller effect. Veta, the moody-but-loyal lead singer, is the best realized of the colorful cast; other characters feel a bit more sketched in. A romance between Jasmine and one of the band members is satisfyingly paced, and the energy between them is as charged (without being graphic) as some of the scenes between Jasmine and her guitar. Some of the novel's big questions are left open: Jasmine's relationship with her father, for instance, or what it means to start a relationship with a roommate.

A treat for industrial-rock lovers; a pleasant summer read for others. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9296-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.

THE NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SCANDAL AND SHIPWRECKS

From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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