A thrilling romp through a fangirl fantasy in which everything crashes and burns and the heroine emerges stronger

GRACE AND THE FEVER

A fangirl finds herself entangled in the real lives of the boy band she loves.

White teen Grace Thomas lives in a suburb of LA, working as a barista over the summer before college. She leads a double life: one with her best friends, who’ve grown distant, the other online as “Gigi,” a member of the Fever Dream fandom. Grace keeps her time on Tumblr secret from her friends and never shares photos or her real name online. So when she runs into Jes Holloway, the bad boy, mixed-race (Indian and white) heartthrob from Fever Dream, hanging out on her very street, it’s as if two parts of herself collide. She plays it cool, but then a paparazzo shows up—and Grace is suddenly the mystery girl all over the internet photographed with Jes. As she enters the private world of Fever Dream, she struggles to separate her identity as a fan from the person she wants Jes to see. Soon she learns that everything she’s imagined about her favorite band isn’t real—and she’s lying to everyone around her. Tumblr posts from the fandom and Grace’s ruminations on the community anchor the dreamlike scenario, related in a closely focused third-person present tense. Her growth coupled with the drama of a burgeoning celebrity scandal make for an immersive, touching read.

A thrilling romp through a fangirl fantasy in which everything crashes and burns and the heroine emerges stronger . (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-2084-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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

LEGEND

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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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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