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OUR SHADOWS HAVE CLAWS

15 LATIN AMERICAN MONSTER STORIES

This bloodcurdling anthology soars.

Fifteen tales full of the macabre and creatures that roam at twilight offer plenty of chills and thrills in this anthology inspired by Latin American folklore and legends.

“Be warned, this story is both a lesson and a curse. Most stories are.” So begins Chantel Acevedo’s strong opener, “The Nightingale and the Lark,” a dreamy tale of star-crossed lovers from families who are at odds over how best to handle monsters in Cuba. Love and loss intertwine across several stories, often superbly dissected through the lenses of gender, sexuality, and, crucially, gender-based violence. In Gabriela Martins’ stellar “Bloodstained Hands Like Yours,” 18-year-old Olivia survives on the streets of Brazil, where the rotten Corpo-seco targets and kills other unhoused people. To save the girl she loves, Olivia must brave her fears and traumas. In Racquel Marie’s “La Patasola,” a queer girl’s coming out turns deadly when her boyfriend’s aggression leads to the appearance of La Patasola, a blood-soaked spirit from Colombia. Colorism and racism thread through numerous tales. The horrors of modern U.S.–led capitalism and the consequences of environmental destruction—see Julia Alvarez’s poignant “Leave No Tracks,” featuring a more-than-human family of ciguapas in the Dominican Republic—round out a few more emergent themes. Dramatic black-and-white art enhances the suspense. The combination of recognizable names from young adult literature and superlative stories on a range of themes makes this collection a winner.

This bloodcurdling anthology soars. (Horror anthology. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64375-183-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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