A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections.

THE DEAD AND THE DARK

Logan Ortiz-Woodley’s dads return with her to their rural Oregon hometown, reawakening old tensions alongside a mysterious evil.

Snakebite is an insular ranching community where everything and everyone is reliably, stiflingly familiar and normal...on the surface. It was paradise to wealthy Ashley Barton before her boyfriend went missing; now trusted adults are keeping secrets and blaming paranormal investigation show star Brandon, who’s in town scouting locations for the next season. The arrival of Brandon’s co-star and husband, Alejo, and their adopted daughter, Logan, prompts further scrutiny and outright aggression—escalated by the revelation that Brandon and Alejo grew up in Snakebite—and leads Ashley to question her beliefs about her town and herself. Meanwhile, Logan quickly realizes that her family’s ties to Snakebite run far deeper than she thought—and that they’re not just there for ParaSpectors. She’s never been close with Brandon, and Alejo refuses to spill, so Logan reluctantly turns to Ashley for help getting answers. But as the girls get closer to the truth, the pool of suspects increases, and their friendship is tested (as well as the growing attraction between lesbian Logan and questioning Ashley). The paranormal elements—sounds, ghosts, and possession—support and enhance Gould’s broader project of interrogating the racist, homophobic ideology that has festered in Snakebite for years. Most characters are White; brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking, bisexual Alejo is presumably Latinx.

A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections. (Paranormal thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76201-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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