Whittled down to a stand-alone, this might have been a classic of so-bad-it’s-goodness. Instead, the series ends as it...

ASHES TO ASHES

From the Burn for Burn series , Vol. 3

Supernatural and real-life drama collide in a revenge fantasy run amok.

Once again, readers will find themselves on Jar Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, in the company of (mostly) moneyed youth with little more to do than foment drama among themselves. Once again, the not-so-well-laid plans of ritzy (but good-hearted!) Lillia Cho and rough-around-the-edges (but good-hearted!) Kat DeBrassio will go awry. Once again, readers will wonder, what is going on with Mary Zane? What’s going on is she’s dead, and she has been all along, her spirit trapped on Jar Island and bent on exacting vengeance against Reeve, whom she blames for her suicide years ago. Why did she wait so long for revenge? Why don’t Lillia and Kat try harder to find her or discuss the strange things they’re noticing, and how do they suddenly become expert spell-casters when it’s time to fight back? This trilogy has had readers pondering the differences between a read so bad it’s good and one that is merely lamentably bad. The former includes clichéd characters, predictable plotlines and clunky dialogue, but it also possesses a spirit of insouciance, a joie de vivre that propels readers breathlessly on. In short, it is a fun page-turner. The latter is a slog.

Whittled down to a stand-alone, this might have been a classic of so-bad-it’s-goodness. Instead, the series ends as it began: a tedious, overstuffed mess. (Paranormal suspense. 15-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4081-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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