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From the Calder Academy series , Vol. 1

Enjoyable but ultimately forgettable; will appeal to fans of the original series.

Calder Academy, a boarding school for delinquent paranormals, may as well be a prison for Clementine.

Clementine Calder has spent her whole life on the isolated Texas island campus of the school for paranormal teens whose powers pose a danger to others. Calder Academy houses everyone from witches to vampires, suppressing their magic and forcing them to coexist. Now that her senior year has arrived, Clementine wants nothing more than to graduate and move away. But the headmaster—her mother—is clear that she’s not going to let Clementine ever leave and experience the real world: “Just remember, Clementine, dreams can be prisons, too.” Beyond the issues with her family, Clementine has spent the last three years avoiding Jude Abernathy-Lee, her childhood best friend who ghosted her, seemingly without reason. When a Category 5 hurricane hits the island, Clementine is forced to work with Jude and suddenly finds herself at the center of a waking nightmare that will change the course of her life—and of Calder Academy—forever. Set in the same universe as Wolff’s Crave series, this spinoff is easy to dive into, although the flat, uninspired romance and core narrative leave something to be desired. Clementine is cued white; Jude’s father is Korean (his mother’s background isn’t named), and there’s racial diversity in the supporting cast.

Enjoyable but ultimately forgettable; will appeal to fans of the original series. (content warning) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781649377012

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter.

After a Nigerian British girl goes off to an exclusive boarding school that seems to prey on less-privileged students, she discovers there might be some truth behind an urban legend.

Ife Adebola joins the Urban Achievers scholarship program at pricey, high-pressure Nithercott School, arriving shortly after a student called Leon mysteriously disappeared. Gossip says he’s a victim of the glowing-eyed Changing Man who targets the lonely, leaving them changed. Ife doesn’t believe in the myth, but amid the stresses of Nithercott’s competitive, privileged, majority-white environment, where she is constantly reminded of her state school background, she does miss her friends and family. When Malika, a fellow Black scholarship student, disappears and then returns, acting strangely devoid of personality, Ife worries the Changing Man is real—and that she’s next. Ife joins forces with classmate Bijal and Benny, Leon’s younger brother, to uncover the truth about who the Changing Man is and what he wants. Culminating in a detailed, gory, and extended climactic battle, this verbose thriller tempts readers with a nefarious mystery involving racial and class-based violence but never quite lives up to its potential and peters out thematically by its explosive finale. However, this debut offers highly visually evocative and eerie descriptions of characters and events and will appeal to fans of creature horror, social commentary, and dark academia.

A descriptive and atmospheric paranormal social thriller that could be a bit tighter. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781250868138

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists.

The disappearance of a child unveils what lies hiding in the woods at the edge of a small town.

There are all sorts of stories about Picnic, Illinois, but it’s not until her toddler cousin, Madison, goes missing from her crib one night that 15-year-old Luce starts to believe them—and especially when she notices a pair of glowing, wolflike eyes through the windows of her house. To everybody’s relief, Madison is returned to her crib, seemingly safe and sound, soon after she vanished, but Luce and the child’s mother notice discomfiting differences in the 2-year-old. And yet, no one else seems to give credence to their concerns. Luce, prompted by a teacher, starts to research Picnic’s history and the many disappearances—and sudden reappearances—of baby girls, going back decades. Meanwhile, deep in the woods, Fanya, who narrates alternating chapters, tends to the baby girl and prepares for the ritual to welcome her as part of her pack when the full moon comes. As Luce’s and Fanya’s stories converge, so do past and present in Lund’s atmospheric novel. The story borrows elements from South Slavic lore about women who turn into animals to tell an affecting tale about small-town secrets, wronged people, and the bravery of two girls bent on getting to the truth in order to save lives. All characters are assumed White.

An affecting supernatural mystery with a pair of brave protagonists. (Paranormal thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35109-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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