Fans of funky unconventional fantasy will lap it up and roar for more.

READ REVIEW

THE CUPID WAR

Life was bad enough for Canadian teen Ricky Fallon; who knew death came with pink spandex?

Fallon actually planned to off himself. He was on the Pape Street Bridge ready to jump because his girl dumped him, his dad was a prick and his “best friend” Susan was the most clingy, depressing person on the planet. He changed his mind…and slipped. Fallon wakes to find Bud, a Soul Reaper, ready to take him to—his new job. Souls with Karma to work out become Cupids, genital-free, Love-eating spirits who exist to increase the supply of Love in the world by getting the living to couple-up. Fallon’s new boss Louis is a huge jerk. Bad enough that he’s got to suffer that (and the heart-emblazoned spandex), but, with little training, Fallon also has to avoid Suicides, the dangerous, misery-eating antitheses of Cupids. When he finds Susan has attached herself to a new unfortunate, Fallon suspects there’s something more than meets the eye to that downer-girl. Can he save her new target (and maybe the world)? Carter’s newest is a darkly humorous, fantastical frolic. Fallon’s snark is tempered by his conflicted feelings about his runaway mother. Other characters aren’t as well-rounded, but the unique afterlife and a surprisingly spiritual twist will keep pages turning.

Fans of funky unconventional fantasy will lap it up and roar for more. (Humorous fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7387-2614-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A resounding success.

CONCRETE ROSE

This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017).

The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones–esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn’t contain dragons or sorcerers, but it’s nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav’s a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father’s federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are “li’l homies,” lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys’ very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, “I ain’t as hard as my pops, ain’t as street as my pops,” but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav’s parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black.

A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284671-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE HATE U GIVE

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

Did you like this book?

more