Undemanding suspense.

READ REVIEW

CREED

Three teens become trapped by a terrifying cult when they stumble into a strange town after breaking down in a remote area.

Seventeen-year-old Dee, her boyfriend, Luke, and his brother, Mike, on their way to a concert, take a back road to save time and run out of gas. They hike to the nearest town but find it apparently deserted, with a siren sounding. The cemetery has only wooden crosses to mark graves, and all the houses and gardens look identical. They enter an empty house and shelter there from a sudden snowstorm. There, as in all the other houses, the only decorations are giant crosses on the walls. The next day, they meet Joseph, a boy their age who confirms that the town is controlled by his father, the cult’s leader, and who promises to help them. But his madman father, Elijah, discovers them, natch. Dee, eventually separated from Luke and Mike, must try to find the others and escape, with Elijah constantly threatening murder unless Dee complies with his wishes. Leaver and Currie set the scene effectively if not particularly originally and keep tension high. The cult never really seems credible, though, and Elijah’s villainy is thoroughly over-the-top. Nevertheless, readers who don’t probe hard should find Dee a sympathetic companion for the duration.

Undemanding suspense. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7387-4080-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Heart-pounding.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

CEMETERY BOYS

A gay, transgender brujo with burgeoning powers seeks answers about his cousin’s death.

Sixteen-year-old Yadriel also wishes for acknowledgement from his community but unexpectedly finds himself entangled in the unresolved wishes of a strong-willed, good-looking spirit. He descends from a long line of brujx who have been granted magic power by Lady Death to heal the living and to guide spirits into the afterlife. Although he’s grown up surrounded by a close-knit community, Yadriel feels alone, excluded indefinitely from a sacred rite of passage because he is transgender. When he senses that his cousin Miguel has died suddenly but the family can’t locate him, Yadriel sees an opportunity to prove to everyone he’s a true brujo by solving the mystery and releasing his cousin’s lost spirit. His plan quickly falls apart, as he accidentally summons the spirit of Julian Diaz, a boy with unfinished business who died the same day as Miguel. Both the romance and mystery burn slow and hot until the climax. Stakes begin high, and the intensity only increases with a looming deadline and a constant risk that Julian might lose himself, turning maligno. The cast of characters represents a diversity of Latinx identities sharing a community in East Los Angeles. Julian is Colombian while Yadriel is Cuban and Mexican. Their romance provides joyful, ground-breaking representation for gay, transgender boys.

Heart-pounding. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25046-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.

EACH OF US A DESERT

What does it mean to come into your own power by letting go of it?

The villagers of Empalme devoutly pray to Solís, the feared higher power who unleashed La Quema, or fire, on humanity for its ills of greed, war, and jealousy. As the village cuentista, Xochitl listens to and receives the villagers’ stories into her body, clearing their consciences, preventing the manifestation of their nightmares, and releasing them to Solís in the desert. Having diligently played this role since childhood, she is now a deeply lonesome 16-year-old whose only comfort comes from cherished poems. Worn weary by her role, she leaves on an odyssey in search of another way to exist. In their sophomore novel, Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. It is a world parallel to ours, rife with Biblical references and the horrific traps that Latinx immigrants face while seeking better lives. Xochitl’s first-person, questioning narration—interlaced with terrifying cuentos that she receives on her journey—is the strongest voice, although secondary and tertiary characters, both human and mythical, are given a tenderness and humanity. All main characters are Latinx, and queer relationships are integrated with refreshing normality.

A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden. (Fantasy/horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-16921-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more