A lush and lively adventure replete with romance, revenge, and robbery.


Part heist, part heart-wrenching coming-of-age novel, this is a new take on “The Goose Girl.”

An incorrigible thief, 17-year-old Vanja Schmidt’s biggest theft was her mistress’s life. Displacing Kör-prinzessin Gisele, soon-to-be Markgräfinvon Reigenbach, after arriving in Bóern, Vanja has been masquerading as both Gisele and Greta, the maid, using her newfound access to steal from the elite as the Pfennigeist (Penny Phantom). Sick of being a servant and repeatedly abandoned—first by her mother, then by her adoptive goddess godmothers, Death and Fortune—Vanja’s saving up for her escape from the Blessed Empire of Almandy, hoping to outrun Gisele, her thefts, the law, and the gods. Revenge against abusive aristocrats is a bonus. But the stakes rise, the countdown starts, and tension builds as a goddess curses Vanja, the zealous young investigator Junior Prefect Emeric Conrad arrives, and the predatory margrave Adalbrecht returns from battle to rush Gisele into marriage. Irreverent toward immortals and fiercely independent, Vanja must make alliances, apologies, and amends if she wants to survive. Romantic entanglements and malevolent magic complicate matters further. In this vaguely early modern Germanic setting, Vanja and many characters read as White. Pivoting from her innovative Merciful Crow series to retell an often revisited fairy tale, Owen delivers a cynical, sarcastic, devious, damaged, and self-aware antihero, a climactic crime caper, and a twisty legal-political thriller.

A lush and lively adventure replete with romance, revenge, and robbery. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-19190-8

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.


An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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

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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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