PAN'S LABYRINTH

THE LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN

A young girl is swept into the dangerous world of fairies and magic in war-torn Spain in a collaborative tale inspired by the noted film.

With the death of her father, her mother’s marriage to a stoic military captain, and the imminent arrival of a baby brother, 13-year-old Ofelia’s world has been turned upside down. But once upturned, Ofelia discovers a world beneath her own that seems straight out of her favorite fairy tales—an Underground Kingdom with magic, fairies, and a faun whose princess has been missing for centuries. The faun explains that Ofelia is their princess reincarnated, but to return to her throne, she must complete three tasks before the next full moon. But as her mother’s health rapidly declines and the captain’s cruelty spreads like a deadly fume, a giant toad and grotesque child eater aren’t the only monsters Ofelia must face. Charged with the monumental task of adapting an intricate film to the page, del Toro (The Shape of Water, 2018, etc.) and Funke (The Griffin’s Feather, 2018, etc.) have avoided merely describing the film and instead have elegantly recrafted the narrative. Brief, interspersed tales that stitch together several characters’ backstories deepen and add greater complexity to the plot while also shrinking the original story’s ambiguous gap between fantasy and reality. Spot art based on the film’s concept art accompanies each of the tales, helping to both offset and connect them.

Dark and mesmerizing. (Dark fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-241446-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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