No damsels in distress to be found here.




A short story collection that illustrates the multitudes of girlhood, womanhood, and magic.

The 16 stories in this anthology let readers traverse many worlds, from a puritanical religious community in 17th-century New England in “Afterbirth” by Andrea Cremer to the 1970s South of “The Legend of Stone Mary” by Robin Talley and the modern-day social media–laden landscape of “Starsong” by Tehlor Kay Mejia. The contributors include many top names in young adult literature, including Nova Ren Suma, Zoraida Córdova, and Anna-Marie McLemore. In “Starsong,” Esperanza Luna Mendoza Stevens offers magical advice to people via social media and flirts with another girl, a NASA-loving skeptic, through direct messaging. In “The Truth About Queenie” by Brandy Colbert, black teen Queenie is afraid to use her powers to heal after her unwitting casting of a spell results in a terrible tragedy. Shveta Thakrar’s “The Moonapple Menagerie” opens with a few lines from Yeats, the perfect complement to her lyrical, South Asian–infused story of a small coven and a terrible bargain. Several stories explore sexual assault, and one addresses the effects of emotional abuse on a family. There are also stories with LGBT content, including one that features a nonbinary character. A couple of stories resort to the white default, but this powerful and diverse collection is perfect for fans of female-led fantasy stories.

No damsels in distress to be found here. (author bios) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-335-01627-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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