Lyrical and inspirational, though Lala’s inexplicably outsider view of her own culture, complete with sneers at harmless...

BURNING

A white boy afraid to leave his family meets a Romani girl who wants a brief romantic encounter in the Nevada desert.

Lala’s family sells used cars in Portland, Ore., but is spending a week in the blistering heat of Nevada in order to fleece the gazhè who come to Burning Man; surely the hippies will pay generously to have their fortunes told. Ben lives in a company town that’s dying along with its shuttering gypsum mine. In alternating chapters, Lala and Ben tell of their coming-of-age crises: Lala fears the stifling sameness of her coming arranged marriage, while Ben is ashamed of the track scholarship that will provide his escape to college while his family and neighbors leave their soon-to-be ghost town for unemployment. Lala, for Ben, is his brief summer dalliance, the manic pixie dream girl who distracts him from his fears. Ben, for Lala, is the trigger she uses to take control of and redirect her life. Lala’s a powerful and independent young woman, though she also exhibits too many romantic gypsy tropes, with her “mess of dark curls...wild” and cascading over an hourglass figure, speaking in contraction-free sentences that entice Ben with their foreignness.

Lyrical and inspirational, though Lala’s inexplicably outsider view of her own culture, complete with sneers at harmless cultural practices, is a deeply jarring note . (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-74334-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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