An engrossing combination of the supernatural and human psychology.

SMALL FAVORS

An isolated mountain town faces inhuman threats and a reckoning.

Eighteen-year-old Ellerie is the beekeeper’s daughter in Amity Falls, a town with a curious past—legend has it the founders were plagued by monsters and so hung Bells along the forest line to keep them out. After an emergency draws her parents away, Ellerie’s left taking care of her family—her twin brother and two younger sisters. When monsters in the woods, long thought gone, prevent supply runs, the town faces crucial shortages of things like medicine, ammunition, and general store goods. Meanwhile, aside from the monsters in the woods, other bad omens like deformed animals and ruined crops plague the town and add to its struggles to prepare for winter. Amid the claustrophobic atmosphere, acts of sabotage sow mistrust among the townspeople and uncover every last grudge. The nonspecific historical setting and creepy woods are well used, be it in eerie moments or in the details of beekeeping and the homesteading lifestyle. During the plot’s slow build, Ellerie’s interpersonal storylines (a budding romance with a young trapper, growing distance between her and her twin, and more) ground readers between the escalation of outward dangers. The biggest twist may be obvious, but the escalation to the wild climax provides a fun ride to an abrupt ending. Ellerie’s family and most of the town default to White.

An engrossing combination of the supernatural and human psychology. (list of families) (Horror. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30674-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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