A passably successful story about a woman who needs to let go of her past to accept her future.

BREAK ME LIKE A PROMISE

From the Once Upon a Crime Family series , Vol. 2

Magnolia Grace has to decide whom she's going to be loyal to in a time of intense transition—her family, her family's business, or herself.

After her boyfriend is killed by traitors to the family's illegal organ-donation business, white Texas debutante Maggie spends several weeks in bed, losing much of the clout she'd struggled to achieve with her father and his colleagues. When she realizes that her father is about to make a policy shift that will change the business and their lives forever, she manages to rouse herself to fight his decisions. However, she's distracted by the presence of Alex, a young Latino man who is in desperate need of a kidney. Alex shows her that the fight she's joined might not be in the best interest of the hundreds of thousands of sick people who need new organs and that her motives are selfish, even as she's trying to save his life. The second book in the Once Upon a Crime Family series about an extended family of criminals portrays a strong young woman at a point in her life when everything she thought she knew turns out to be wrong, supplying readers with a riveting (if contrived) storyline. However, Maggie's moral education about what it means to be privileged feels overstated and forced.

A passably successful story about a woman who needs to let go of her past to accept her future. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3783-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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