A heroic tale that feels both classic and fresh.

VIAL OF TEARS

A magical coin strands sisters in a Phoenician underworld.

Sam and Rima receive a family heirloom from their great-grandfather who lives in their mother’s hometown in Lebanon—a clay jug with ancient coins in it. The sisters, who live in poverty with their mother (their White father is dead), wonder if this could be the solution to their financial woes. But one coin is frighteningly cold, and when Rima holds it, she summons a mysterious man and a windstorm that sweeps the girls from Michigan to a magical underworld where monsters and gods roam freely. The man—Eshmun, half god and half mortal—furiously wants his precious coin back. Sam gets her bearings in this world that is part historical Lebanon and part mythological, as she learns Eshmun’s role in a prophecy that may affect her and her sister as well. Throughout, Sam keeps her focus firmly on rescuing her sister, whose life hangs in the balance after being attacked by a beast, and returning home. Themes of destiny and death build up to an ending that’s just bittersweet enough. In the author’s note, Bishara, who shares her protagonists’ heritage, details her historical research and the family stories and photographs that inspired her. She generously shares recipes passed down through her family—an addition most appreciated, as the mouthwatering food descriptions are a crown jewel among the vividly painted settings, clothing, and people.

A heroic tale that feels both classic and fresh. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4641-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title.

OUR VIOLENT ENDS

From the These Violent Delights series , Vol. 2

New monsters terrorize Shanghai amid political upheaval and the reignition of the blood feud between the Chinese Scarlet Gang and the Russian White Flowers.

The death of Marshall Seo unleashed a new wave of violence, but when a mysterious figure wielding control over more deadly-insect–releasing monsters begins extorting money from both gangs, their leaders agree to temporarily cooperate in the interests of eliminating a mutual foe. They order their respective heirs to find the blackmailer, and so, once again, Roma Montagov and Juliette Cai must work together for the benefit of those under their protection. But their feelings for each other—complicated by hidden truths, lingering love, and unforgiving duty—prove difficult to repress. Meanwhile, the time of revolution draws near: Workers continue to organize protests decrying both foreign occupation and gangster rule as the Nationalist Army marches toward Shanghai in its campaign to unite and reclaim the country. Secrets abound and loyalties are tested in this tightly plotted sequel featuring a multinational cast and told through multiple third-person perspectives, including those of supporting characters introduced in These Violent Delights (2020). Stubborn Rosalind, obliging Kathleen, and grief-stricken Benedikt all return to play vital roles that blend seamlessly into Roma’s and Juliette’s storylines as they each are forced to consider what it is they truly want and the lengths they will go to protect it.

Star-crossed lovers carve their own paths in an explosive conclusion that lives up to its title. (Historical fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-534-45772-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS

From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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