Happily, the many ardent fans waiting for this volume probably won’t mind its snags, they’ll just delight in the feels.

OUR DARK DUET

From the Monsters of Verity series , Vol. 2

In a world where monstrous acts beget actual monsters, what is humanity?

Picking up six months after This Savage Song (2016), this duology conclusion opens with Kate (human, white, deaf in one ear) and August (not human, fair-skinned) separated; he’s in quarantined, monster-ridden supercity Verity, embracing his purpose, which is to reap those who have committed violence. Meanwhile, Kate has escaped to Prosperity, where she’s teamed up with what feels an awful lot like the Scooby Gang of Buffy fame to fight more monsters. The story starts slowly but picks up when Kate returns to Verity on the heels of a monster that breeds violence; the Malchai and Corsai just kill people, and the Sunai reap souls, but the Chaos Eater causes people to turn on one another in acts of unrelenting carnage. Kate joins August and the Flynn Task Force to fight the Chaos Eater and the lead Malchai, and her presence helps August find himself again. The breakneck pacing of the climactic latter half eventually resolves into a poignant ending. Too many peripheral characters—including a nongendered Sunai whose representation is exciting but problematic—and too much time with figurative mustache- (and literal dead-body–) twirling villains detract from what works, although Schwab’s style is on point, as always.

Happily, the many ardent fans waiting for this volume probably won’t mind its snags, they’ll just delight in the feels. (Fantasy/horror. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238088-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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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An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic.

ALL OUR HIDDEN GIFTS

An Irish teen grapples with past misdeeds and newfound ties to magic.

When 16-year-old Maeve discovers a deck of tarot cards stashed with a mixtape of moody indie music from 1990, she starts giving readings for her classmates at her all-girls private school. Though her shame over dumping her strange friend Lily during an attempt to climb the social ladder at St. Bernadette’s is still palpable, it doesn’t stop her from trying to use the tarot in her favor to further this goal. However, after speaking harsh words to Lily during a reading, Maeve is horrified when her former friend later disappears. As she struggles to understand the forces at play within her, classmate Fiona proves to be just the friend Maeve needs. Detailed, interesting characters carry this contemporary story of competing energy and curses. Woven delicately throughout are chillingly eerie depictions of the Housekeeper, a figure who shows up on an extra card in the deck, echoing the White Lady legend from Irish folklore. Even more disturbing is an organization of young people led by a homophobic but charismatic figurehead intent on provoking backlash against Ireland’s recent civil rights victories. Most characters are White; Fiona is biracial, with a Filipina mother and White Irish father. Roe, Maeve’s love interest and Lily’s sibling, is a bisexual, genderqueer person who is a target for intolerance in their small city of Kilbeg.

An immersive tale of brave, vulnerable teens facing threats both real and fantastic. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1394-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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