Here’s hoping the Brannicks will be back—their story’s marvelous fun.

SCHOOL SPIRITS

From the Hex Hall series , Vol. 4

Izzy—short for Isolde—and her mother are the last in their centuries-old line of monster killers.

Izzy’s sister Finley disappeared while the sisters were dealing with a witches’ coven, and Izzy has felt guilty about the incident ever since, holding herself responsible. Looking for a break, Izzy’s mom moves them to Ideal, Miss., and sends Izzy to high school, an environment completely foreign to the girl, with the hope that she will be able to deal with a local ghost. Izzy makes actual friends there but learns that this ghost has far more power than usual, and she comes to suspect that one of her cherished new friends may have summoned it. Worse, she’s attracted to Dex, but the boy gives off vibes that Izzy picks up as supernatural. She can’t tell just what kind of being Dex might be, but she hopes she won’t have to kill him. Hawkins dials the level of humor up to high throughout most of the book, with deftly phrased witticisms in both the narrative (“worry slithered through me”) and her characters’ dialogue (“I am affronted!” declares Dex). Her characterizations shine as original and funny, especially Dex and Torin, an Elizabethan-era warlock trapped for centuries in the Brannicks’ mirror, who dispenses dubious advice. Finley still being missing, it’s entirely possible this, itself a spinoff of the Hex Hall books, may become a series.

Here’s hoping the Brannicks will be back—their story’s marvelous fun. (Paranormal comedy/suspense. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4849-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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