Anyone who read the first book was dying for this one months ago; they'll hardly be able to wait for the concluding volume.

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INSURGENT

From the Divergent series , Vol. 2

In this addictive sequel to the acclaimed Divergent (2011), a bleak post-apocalyptic Chicago ruled by "factions" exemplifying different personality traits collapses into all-out civil war.

With both the Dauntless and Abnegation factions shattered by the Erudite attack, Tris and her companions seek refuge with Amity and Candor, and even among the factionless. But the Erudite search for "Divergents" continues relentlessly. They have a secret to protect—one they fear could prove more catastrophic than open warfare; one they will slaughter to keep hidden... Rather than ease readers back into this convoluted narrative, the book plunges the characters into immediate danger without clues to their current relationships, let alone their elaborate back stories. The focus is firmly on the narrator Tris, who, devastated by guilt and grief, reveals new depth and vitality. While taking actions less Dauntless than recklessly suicidal, she retains her convenient knack for overhearing crucial conversations and infallibly sizing up others. Her romance with Tobias is achingly tender and passionate, and her friends and enemies alike display a realistic spectrum of mixed motivations and conflicted choices. The unrelenting suspense piles pursuit upon betrayal upon torture upon pitched battles; the violence is graphic, grisly and shockingly indiscriminate. The climactic reveal, hinting at the secret origins of their society, is neither surprising nor particularly plausible, but the frenzied response makes for another spectacular cliffhanger.

Anyone who read the first book was dying for this one months ago; they'll hardly be able to wait for the concluding volume. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-202404-6

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

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SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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