For fans only; but their number is legion.

FOUR

From the Divergent series

Roth returns to her wildly popular Divergent series with four prequel stories from Four’s viewpoint.

Before he was “Four,” he was Tobias Eaton, the abused and alienated son of Marcus, leader of the Abnegation faction. The stories (really one episodic novella) trace his path from the choice to join Dauntless to his first encounters with Tris, heroine of the trilogy and love of his life. Sufficient information is interwoven to make the world accessible to new readers, while fans will find a surreptitious thrill digging into a taciturn hero’s back story; still, little of real consequence is added to the overall plot. Devotees will undoubtedly relish cameo appearances by several beloved (and loathed) characters, and they will squee over such iconic moments as Four’s earning his nickname, getting his tattoos and learning the dangers of being “Divergent.” More compelling is his gradual transformation from an angry, manipulated and vulnerable victim to a badass loner—still angry and bitter but now tough and determined. Unfortunately, this narrative arc is undercut by the final story and the three rewritten short scenes from the first book, which read almost like bad fan fiction: Once Tris appears, the love-struck Four becomes dithering and goony, gushing about her all-embracing awesomeness and explaining that all his harsh words and actions really meant their exact opposite.

For fans only; but their number is legion. (Dystopian romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-234521-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development.

I KISSED SHARA WHEELER

A romance with solid queer representation set against the backdrop of an Alabama Christian school.

Chloe Green is the only one who sees through Shara Wheeler’s goody-two-shoes act, and now that Shara’s pulled a disappearing act right before being crowned prom queen, she makes it her business to find her. This means teaming up with unlikely allies like Smith Parker, Shara’s jock boyfriend, and Rory Heron, the brooding boy next door, both in love with Shara, just as Chloe claims she is not. What brings the trio together is a series of notes Shara has left them, along with the awkward fact that she kissed all three of them before vanishing. McQuiston’s YA debut starts off as a fun page-turner with a rich cast of queer characters but ultimately disappoints with its predictable plot twists and protagonists whose journeys feel lackluster. In a story that uplifts the importance of friendship and found family, the main character’s tunnel vision and indifference toward her friends’ problems make for an ending that doesn’t feel earned. Rather than coming across as a complicated but earnest love interest, Shara feels superficial and narcissistic, raising the question of why so many people drop everything to pursue her. Shara and Chloe are White; Rory has a White mom and Black dad, and Smith is described as having dark brown skin. Bisexual Chloe has two moms.

An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24445-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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