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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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.


An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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