Fast-paced, well-plotted, frequently hilarious—as delicious as the finest French pastry.

MY CONTRARY MARY

Following the success of their Lady Janies books, the trio of Hand, Ashton, and Meadows enter the world of early modern shape-shifters.

It’s 1560 Paris, the royal court of King Henry and his queen, Catherine de Medici (described by the modern authorial narrators, who use the royal we, as “a playful sort of evil”). Seventeen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, has lived there for 12 years, is betrothed to Francis, the French dauphin; is supervised by her powerful French uncles; and is attended by four devoted ladies-in-waiting, all also named Mary. But the religious wars in this version of history aren’t Protestant versus Catholic—they’re between Verities, humans who cannot shape shift, and Eðians, who can. In Scotland, John Knox is publishing pamphlets denouncing Verities and casting doubts on Mary’s fitness to rule while in France, King Henry threatens to persecute all Eðians. Francis knows his beloved can change into a mouse—but so does his mother—and when King Henry dies in a jousting “accident,” Catherine threatens the new queen with a mousetrap. Meanwhile, Ari, daughter of the prophet Nostradamus, has visions that strongly resemble blockbuster movies, and Francis and Mary satisfy the too-curious court on their wedding night by enthusiastically jumping up and down on their bed. Three narrators seamlessly tell the tale, which includes a gentle queer romance. Everybody’s White.

Fast-paced, well-plotted, frequently hilarious—as delicious as the finest French pastry. (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-293004-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more