Fans of Clare's grandiloquence will enjoy the torrid new cast of characters, positively aquiver with secret ardor and...

LADY MIDNIGHT

From the Dark Artifices series , Vol. 1

By the Angel, it's a new series from the reigning queen of schmaltzy forbidden love against a backdrop of geysering green ichor.

Five years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire (2014), another generation of Shadowhunters confronts first love despite the sins of their fathers. Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn are 17-year-old parabatai, platonically bonded warrior lifemates, sworn to each other since they were both orphaned at 12. Julian, responsible for his four younger siblings, became grave and adult before his time, while Emma grew reckless and obsessed with revenge. Now a series of occult murders has caught Emma's attention. The resulting chaos is trademark Clare, complete with longing looks, uncannily pretty boys, and snarky banter. No mere love triangles here; the circle of taboo ardor has six participants, all preternaturally lovely and extraordinary fighters, Shadowhunter and faerie both; though most are white and the primary characters straight, at least one is explicitly brown-skinned and two of the secondary members bisexual. It's not just lust and romance driving Emma and Julian; they're positively throbbing with stoically stifled emotions for siblings, their Mexican Nephilim allies, and the long-lost half-faerie Blackthorns. Though uneven, this series opener delivers what's promised: eyes like "doors to another world," "the ocean a mile down from the surface," "an oncoming storm over the ocean," or "the back of a silver spoon."

Fans of Clare's grandiloquence will enjoy the torrid new cast of characters, positively aquiver with secret ardor and murderous zeal . (Urban fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6835-1

Page Count: 768

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO THE NORTH AMERICAN TEENAGER

A teenage, not-so-lonely loner endures the wilds of high school in Austin, Texas.

Norris Kaplan, the protagonist of Philippe’s debut novel, is a hypersweaty, uber-snarky black, Haitian, French-Canadian pushing to survive life in his new school. His professor mom’s new tenure-track job transplants Norris mid–school year, and his biting wit and sarcasm are exposed through his cataloging of his new world in a field guide–style burn book. He’s greeted in his new life by an assortment of acquaintances, Liam, who is white and struggling with depression; Maddie, a self-sacrificing white cheerleader with a heart of gold; and Aarti, his Indian-American love interest who offers connection. Norris’ ego, fueled by his insecurities, often gets in the way of meaningful character development. The scenes showcasing his emotional growth are too brief and, despite foreshadowing, the climax falls flat because he still gets incredible personal access to people he’s hurt. A scene where Norris is confronted by his mother for getting drunk and belligerent with a white cop is diluted by his refusal or inability to grasp the severity of the situation and the resultant minor consequences. The humor is spot-on, as is the representation of the black diaspora; the opportunity for broader conversations about other topics is there, however, the uneven buildup of detailed, meaningful exchanges and the glibness of Norris’ voice detract.

Despite some missteps, this will appeal to readers who enjoy a fresh and realistic teen voice. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-282411-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

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