A love letter to misfits who have been scared to let their stardust shine.

MISS METEOR

Can a small town embrace the wholeness of four teens: a self-proclaimed tomboy, a transgender athlete, a brilliant artist, and a girl born from stardust?

In Meteor, New Mexico, the annual Meteor Regional Pageant and Talent Competition Showcase is a major attraction for Miss Meteor contestants and the local businesses that depend on tourism to survive. The Quintanilla family runs a diner with their four daughters. Chicky, the youngest, could not care less about the pageant while her ex–best friend, Lita, has always dreamed of such an honor—even though thin, blond, White girls always seem to win. The estranged friends team up and, with help from their friends Junior and Cole and the Quintanilla sisters, hatch a plan to upset the town’s social hierarchy by helping Lita compete in the pageant. Drama ensues that characterizes the best telenovelas: unrequited love, bullies and popular mean girls, town gossips, and, of course, a curandera. Underneath there lies a heartfelt response to White supremacy, especially as it relates to brown bodies. Extended metaphors of stardust and space magic could grow tired in less capable hands, but they work powerfully in Mejia and McLemore’s descriptions of teenage emotional urgency when courage can be as a fleeting as a shooting star. Most main characters are Latinx; Cole is White.

A love letter to misfits who have been scared to let their stardust shine. (Magical realism. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-286991-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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

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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