Part homage to a sci-fi original, part re-imagining, plenty of teen torment and trouble—an absorbing read.

THIS MONSTROUS THING

Opening with heavy foreshadowing and a mysterious book (“green and slim…the title printed in spindly gold leaf on the spine: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus”), debut author Lee imagines a steampunk back story for the Shelley classic.

Set primarily in Geneva after the French Revolution, the book chronicles a world in which damaged humans repaired with gears and sporting clockwork hearts form a feared and despised underclass. Teenage Alasdair, perpetual disappointment to his father but a gifted mechanic, secretly repairs and maintains these clockwork humans. Then family tragedy strikes, and a guilt-ridden Alasdair turns to friend Mary for help in doing the unthinkable. Two years later the anonymously written Frankenstein creates a European stir, and Alasdair recognizes his own story in its troubling pages. With a deserted stone castle and a mad scientist, a distorted, dangerous brother brought back to life and steely automatons, 19th-century police chases and first kisses, the young genius has his hands full. His first-person account references Coleridge and Milton, making this more than just a Gothic romance novel; the settings give a nice international feel. The old and new (“God’s wounds”; “it was a shitty choice”) are woven together in language and theme creating a solid tale that explores what it means to be human.

Part homage to a sci-fi original, part re-imagining, plenty of teen torment and trouble—an absorbing read. (Steampunk. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-238277-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an...

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER

Can teenage love ever be forever?

Isabel (Belly) from The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009) and It’s Not Summer Without You (2010) finishes up her freshman year at college somewhat unconvincingly committed to Jeremiah Fisher, one of the two brothers with whom she has spent summers since she was small. Isabel becomes furious to learn that Jeremiah had sex with another girl from their college in Cabo on spring break, but he wins back her affections with a grand gesture: a proposal of marriage. Caught up in the idea—she will plan a summer wedding! they will attend college as a married couple!—Isabel tries ignores her misgivings about Jeremiah, the appalled silence of her mother and her own still-strong feelings for Jeremiah’s older brother, Conrad. It’s both funny and believable when Jeremiah insists he wants to dance the wedding dance to “You Never Can Tell” from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Han gives a satisfying nod to wedding-planning fantasies even while revealing their flimsy basis for an actual marriage. A final chapter in 23-year-old Isabel’s voice reveals the not-so-surprising happy ending.

Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an appealing conclusion to this trilogy romance among bright middle-class young people. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9558-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more