A highly readable though flawed twist on the classic star-crossed lovers plot.


Sparks—both romantic and cultural—fly when Hasidic Devorah and Jaxon, the son of West Indian immigrants, meet on a hospital elevator stuck between floors during a hurricane.

This chance flirtation fans a tiny flame of doubt into a wildfire. Devorah knows she doesn’t want to live out her parents’ vision of the future: a highly circumscribed yet loving life of faith and family in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Devorah begins lying to her parents and sneaking around their rules to spend more time with Jaxon, falling for him hard and thinking that a relationship with him would help her avoid entering an early, arranged marriage and inevitable motherhood. But her suspicious, holier-than-thou brother-in-law, Jacob, seems intent on catching Devorah in the wrong. Meanwhile, Jaxon thrills to the romance of their shared secret, laboring over a heartfelt mix CD and devising detailed plans for a date that won’t break the rules of sabbath. The novel is by no means perfect: Jacob’s villainy is positively clichéd, and the number of factual missteps throughout (by tradition, Devorah would not have been named for a living grandmother and would never call that grandmother a shiksa, for example) render the narrative troubling and unreliable. The story is most successful in the scenes between the protagonists and their respective families, which readers will note are more similar than they are different.

A highly readable though flawed twist on the classic star-crossed lovers plot. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59514-674-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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