A noir fantasy—part adventure, part love story, all the way spectacularly creepy.

THE HAZARDS OF LOVE

BRIGHT WORLD

In an attempt at self-improvement, Amparo makes a deal with a talking cat.

After being suspended for pulling the fire alarm at school, Amparo Uribe struck out with their crush, Iolanthe. When a mysterious talking cat appears in their bedroom window promising magical assistance, they make a deal. In exchange for a drop of Amparo’s blood and their name, the cat promises to make them a better person. But instead of assisting Amparo the way they expected, the cat becomes Amparo, and Amparo is sucked into the Bright World. Amparo tries to avoid being eaten by a number of creatures (including their new master), hold tight to their memories (which are of high value in the Bright World), and figure out how to get home. The worldbuilding is magnificent; the Bright World is appropriately rich in color and full of macabre and creative details. The characters are fully developed and intriguing, some complex and full of secrets, others that appear to be the creatures of nightmares. Readers also get glimpses of Queens, where the cat has almost everyone fooled that they are the improved version of Amparo. The pacing is well done, with the mysteries of Bright World slowly revealing themselves, and the cliffhanger ending will leave readers clamoring for the sequel. Amparo is nonbinary, queer, and is cued as Latinx; Iolanthe reads as Black.

A noir fantasy—part adventure, part love story, all the way spectacularly creepy. (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62010-857-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more