No damsels in distress to be found here.

TOIL & TROUBLE

15 TALES OF WOMEN & WITCHCRAFT

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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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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