Apr 072020
 

School Library Journal: Fitz Holton and Juniper Ramirez cross paths while touring colleges, though they have different goals in mind. Fitz would like to stay home and care for his ailing mother, who is encouraging him to get out and experience college, while Juniper is ready to get out of the house where she lives with her five siblings. Juniper heads out with her boyfriend Matt on visits, but once Fitz gets the courage to approach her, Juniper realizes that maybe she and Matt are not meant to be and will continue on different paths after high school. Told in alternating perspectives between Juniper and Fitz, the book takes readers on an adventure touring college campuses in a variety of cities, immersing them in the lives of these young travelers. Juniper is independent and strong-willed, while Fitz is unsure but interested in getting to know her. The advanced vocabulary used by Fitz adds to his wise personality. Readers will get both a lesson in vocabulary and on fate—as well as a reminder not to work against the time we are given.

VERDICT A romance that is sure to entertain and enlighten high school readers.

Mar 262020
 

Publishers Weekly: The industrialized magic system is intricate and fascinating…, and Bennett’s characterization of the unhinged, all-powerful Crasedes strikes a perfect balance between terror and allure.

Mar 062020
 

Publishers Weekly: The masterful second genre-bending tale in Muir’s Locked Tomb trilogy (after Gideon the Ninth) ratchets up the horror, hijinks, and gallows humor of the series to a fever pitch. Queer necromancer Harrowhark Nonagesimus, heir to the Ninth House, has gotten everything she’s ever wanted: as a newly minted Lyctor, she’s earned a place by the side of the Necrolord Prime and a chance to revive her dying House. But something went wrong during her transformation, leaving her Lyctorhood incomplete and her health failing, wracked by hallucinations and altered memories. When King Undying summons her to his ancient palace in the far reaches of space, she’s trapped both by its strange corridors and by her faltering mind, with only her detestable rival Ianthe, three ancient and unfriendly fellow Lyctors, and the eccentric Emperor himself for company, as she begins to suspect that someone wants her dead. Muir’s labyrinthine plot raises the stakes of the series as it pushes the characters to their limits, exploring their trauma and anguish while keeping intact the irreverent comedy, grisly necromantic science, and gothic sensibilities that fans  expect. Ending on a heart-stopping cliffhanger sure to have readers clamoring for the next installment, this dark, bloody puzzle box of a sequel is a knockout.

Mar 052020
 

Booklist: A compelling, fun, and thought-provoking story for fans of Seanan McGuire, Alma Katsu, and Erin Morgenstern…. a perfect choice for teens, especially those who enjoy dark fantasy with detailed worldbuilding.

Feb 272020
 

Publishers Weekly: Hugo- and Nebula-winner Wells’s excellent first full-length Murderbot Diaries novel (after the novella Exit Strategy) sees her hilariously humanlike Artificial Intelligence Security Unit recount a routine space mission gone horribly awry. […]  SecUnit’s gloriously candid, frequently confused assessments of its crew and their predicaments allow for an amusingly childlike perspective on what it means to be human. Wells puts an astonishing amount of technical detail into SecUnit’s narrative, which will please hard sci-fi readers without detracting from the engaging story line. Series fans and anyone who enjoys humor-infused space operas won’t want to miss this.

Feb 172020
 

Kirkus: Young roboticist Efi dreams of creating a better life for her community, where omnics and humans live peacefully, in this novel inspired by the video game “Overwatch.” Efi spends so many hours in her workshop ironing out bugs in her robots that her mother worries she isn’t connecting enough with best friends Naade and Hassana. But her work pays off when Efi wins the Genius Grant given out by her idol, Gabrielle Adawe, who founded both the organization Overwatch and the African city of Numbani. On the way to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate, Doomfist, who should be in prison, attacks the airport. The destruction left in Doomfist’s wake spurs Efi to put her grant money toward developing Orisa, a compassionate robot that can protect the city she loves. The immense pressure of this project strains the three friends’ relationship, forcing Efi to go it alone. While Efi teaches Orisa to integrate into Numbani, Orisa teaches her about responsibility and friendship—and as Dooomfist provokes discord between omnics and humans, Efi, Naade, and Hassana must come together to save Numbani. Drayden (Escaping Exodus, 2019, etc.) gives Efi a clear voice in this engrossing read with smooth pacing and action-packed scenes. The main storyline is tied up enough to keep readers satisfied but interested in the sequel; readers don’t need to be familiar with the video game to understand the book. All characters are black. Readers will root for this STEM-focused girl hero.

Feb 072020
 

Kirkus: A collection with 27 excellent stories showcasing the talent of one of the genre’s most versatile writers. “Covenant,” for example, is a suspenseful story about a serial killer who becomes a victim. The science fiction twist is that he undergoes a voluntary procedure called “rightminding,” which rewires his brain to reduce his psychopathic tendencies. He also becomes a woman in the process—and thus the target of another psychopath. Because the memories of her time as a serial killer remain, she can speculate on what her male abductor might do next, making for a tense story. “In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns” reads like a police procedural locked-room murder mystery in which the victim’s corpse appears to have been turned inside out. But other components in the story elevate it above standard fare, such as the investigator’s tense relationship with her VR-addicted mother, an engineered cat who might be a witness to the crime, a company developing fourth-dimension technology, and the strange behavior of a star in the Andromeda system. Asimovian robots—albeit racier ones than any Asimov ever created—are featured in “Dolly,” a mystery in which a sex robot has been used to kill her owner. Is she the murder weapon or the murderer? Ethical issues are raised in this engaging story, one of the many to be found in this must-have collection.

Feb 052020
 

Publishers Weekly: The secrets that slowly emerge about Tessa, the Cookes, and the two elderly caretakers now tending Fallbrook will keep readers turning the pages. Suspense fans will be satisfied.

Jan 302020
 

Kirkus: Well-written, fun, and thoughtful tale of evil Nazi plots, body-snatching behind enemy lines, magical libraries, complicated parental relationships, deep-seated prejudices, and suspicious felines. An enticing genre mashup. Horror, sci-fi, and fantasy readers alike will find something to love and someone to root for.