Predictable and offering too little adventure, save for the twist that will propel the sequel.

DIVIDING EDEN

After assassins kill the king and his heir, the remaining royal twins compete to earn the throne.

White twins Carys and Andreus live in the Palace of Winds, safe from the war. But Andreus has a secret: he’s cursed. And if the Council of Elders finds out, he and his sister face grave danger. All his life, Carys has kept him safe, shielding him whenever he’s had an attack. Subsequently, Andreus is free to indulge himself, whether it be in women or the study of windmills. Carys, however, frequently faces punishment in order to hide her brother’s affliction, and she will do anything to protect him. This tenuous arrangement holds until assassins kill both the king and their elder brother. Grief sends the queen over the edge, and the twins are forced to take her place: they must compete in the Trials of Virtuous Succession until only one lives. It isn’t long before the twins once bound by blood are out to shed it. Carys emerges as a strong, dynamic lead, but her brother quickly shifts into caricature to suit the plot. There’s no mention of magic in this fantasy until it ushers in the ending, adding much-needed hope to an otherwise endlessly bleak tragedy.

Predictable and offering too little adventure, save for the twist that will propel the sequel. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245384-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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Vivid, chilling, and important.

NONE SHALL SLEEP

Two 18-year-olds with traumatic pasts become entangled in a high-stakes manhunt for a serial killer targeting teenagers.

Emma Lewis isn’t your average psychology undergrad (and not just because she has a buzz cut). Two and a half years ago, she escaped a serial killer’s clutches and then helped the authorities apprehend him. Now a student at Ohio State, she’s been recruited for her unique qualifications by an agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Science department to spend the summer interviewing juvenile offenders. Alongside trainee Travis Bell, whose late father was killed while apprehending one of their subjects, Emma reluctantly ventures into the minds of teenage killers—and must confront her own past when one of the subjects offers unexpected insight into the motives of a new killer known as the Butcher. Set in the early 1980s, narrated in present tense, and told through Emma’s perspective as well as others’ (including the Butcher’s), the tightly plotted story moves inexorably forward with shocking twists alongside clear, applicable descriptions of the cognitive behavioral strategies Emma uses to navigate her PTSD. The narrative is critical of law enforcement work, emphasizing its psychological toll, and the '80s cultural references are handled with a light touch. Emma is white while Travis is cued as biracial (Mexican American and white); although most secondary characters appear white, two key figures are people of color.

Vivid, chilling, and important. (author's note) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49783-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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