This respectful and occasionally clever homage may be most appreciated by those least familiar with the original.

TELL THE WIND AND FIRE

“It was the best of times until it was the worst of times” in a fantastical Tale of Two Cities.

In Light New York, Light magic provides luxurious ease for its practitioners, but the symbiotic Dark magic provokes ostracism and confinement. Lucie Manette escaped Dark New York as a heroine after rescuing her father from imprisonment, but she remains guilt-ridden over those she left behind. When Carwyn, a doppelgänger created with illegal Dark magic, unexpectedly saves his double, Ethan (Lucie’s beloved and nephew of the Light Council’s leader), Lucie is sickened by the exposed corruption among the ruling caste. But as the downtrodden Dark populace rises in bloody revolution, Lucie has to make a terrible choice. Retellings of beloved classics are tricky, but here, Dickens’ overall plot and major characters translate effortlessly into this intriguingly imagined setting. Lucie and Ethan are more complex than their rather insipid Victorian prototypes, and Carwyn retains all the bad-boy fascination of his charismatic counterpart. Less successful are the direct quotes from the original, which feel strained and artificial. Brennan is best where she is most original: her metaphorically rich magical system, her timely (and timeless) championing of society’s outcasts. Her trademark witty dialogue—although restrained by the somber narrative—still sparkles, making the inevitable tragic conclusion all the more poignant.

This respectful and occasionally clever homage may be most appreciated by those least familiar with the original. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-31817-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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