A disappointing sequel to the standout The Living (2013).

THE HUNTED

From the Living series , Vol. 2

After surviving the tsunami that sank their cruise ship, escaping an island harboring a deadly secret and enduring 36 days at sea, three teens and an adult reach what’s left of California—a quarantined, anarchic region devastated by earthquakes and a lethal, engineered pandemic.

Gangs control spheres of influence and prohibit travel. The dead are everywhere. Teens Shy, Carmen and Marcus suspect their families also perished. Shoeshine, the man who engineered their escape and their only guide, is a mystery himself. Inoculated against Romero Disease, the teens want to hunt for their families, but circumstances lead them to accompany Shoeshine east to Arizona, where the precious vaccine can be produced and disseminated to millions at risk. Shy and Carmen’s mutual attraction grows, but she’s engaged to someone among the missing. (Awkward sexuality in books for teens generally expresses a female perspective; Shy’s touching, funny account makes a welcome change.) Frustratingly, there’s no throughline to the plot; it doesn’t so much unwind as fall apart. Horrific discoveries (babies shot in a hospital, children killing and killed) lack the weight they merit; coincidence strains credulity. Latino protagonists are all too rare in teen books, but Shy and his cohort here feel more like placeholders than developed characters. Quests and goals are abandoned without resolution as if the author, having lost interest in his story midway, has left characters—and readers—to finish it themselves.

A disappointing sequel to the standout The Living (2013). (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74122-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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

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THE CRUEL PRINCE

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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