THE SEASON OF REBELS AND ROSES

Two women fight for Puerto Rican independence in the late 1880s.

Inocencia Martínez is just 18 when the story opens, while Lola Rodríguez de Tío, the book’s other protagonist, is a married woman with children, but the two white women know each other from Doña Lola’s women’s political group. The pair are soon separated as liberationists in Puerto Rico are hounded by the Spanish colonizers. The choppy pacing of the plodding plot follows Lola and her family’s move to Cuba to avoid persecution. Meanwhile, Inocencia, in love with the political revolutionary Sotero Figueroa, who is described using the questionable term “mulatto” (given without sufficient context for modern readers), goes against her family’s wishes in courting him. Eventually the pair marry and move to New York City. There, Inocencia establishes a women’s group to support the causes of Puerto Rican and Cuban independence. Though her group purports to have racial equality as a goal, the fact that the narrative exoticizes Sotero—both actually calling him exotic and fetishizing the darkness of his skin—undermines this aim. With such interesting material, it’s unfortunate that the uneven pace and often awkward phrasing don’t do the subject matter justice. While more books about Latin American history are overdue, the conflicting content and lack of an engaging narrative will satisfy only the most avid historians.

Disappointing. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55885-865-7

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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