Entertaining.

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SWEET SHADOWS

This second book in a planned trilogy about three sisters descended from Medusa brings Greek mythological monsters to the modern world.

Gretchen, Greer and Grace learn that they are the key generation that must either seal or unseal the portal to the abyss, perhaps unleashing upon the world monsters that have been kept in abeyance since the original Medusa’s death. Triplets who were adopted into wildly different families, at age 16 they have come into their powers. Gretchen has the most experience in fighting monsters and tries to train her sisters, but attacks from the underworld keep getting in the way. While much depends on knowledge from the previous installment (Sweet Venom, 2011), this sequel explains enough for new readers to follow the story, especially when the action picks up as Gretchen enters a mythological realm. Childs clearly has good fun with her monsters; she takes most from Greek mythology but throws in a few sympathetic beasts, such as Harold, the friendly, giant-spider school janitor. The three sisters share the narration in successive chapters, and although their personalities appear quite different, each speaks with a similar voice, so readers will need to note the names heading each chapter. The author finds plenty of material in the myths yet keeps her tone light enough and her main characters contemporary enough to please her target audience of teens just moving on from Percy Jackson.

Entertaining. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200183-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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

ALL THIS TIME

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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