Colleen Mondor Reviews The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka

The Temperature of Me and You, Brian Zepka (Disney-Hyperion 978-1-36806-471-2, $17.99, hc, 416 pp) January 2022.

Author Brian Zepka set out to blend a sweet romance with high school drama and a major science fiction twist in The Temperature of Me and You, a novel involving the teen victim of a lab accident/experiment that has left him literally burning from the inside out. I’ll be honest; I’m a ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Shattered Midnight, Dhonielle Clayton (Hy­perion 978-1-368-04642-8, $17.99, hc, 304pp) January 2022.

The Mirror series, which began with Julie C. Dao’s Broken Wish in 2020, continues with Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton. Set in New Orleans in 1928, it is full of historic atmo­sphere, immersing readers in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city that Zara Broussard now calls home. There is a great sense of foreboding, however, both ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen

No Beauties or Monsters, Tara Goedjen (Dela­corte Press 978-1-5247-1480-2, $17.99, hc 356pp.) December 2021. Cover by Jack Hughes.

In No Beauties or Monsters, Rylie and her fam­ily have returned to the US Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms CA after a tragic accident four years earlier. From the very first pages author Tara Goedjen piles on the foreshadowing, with strange creatures sighted, mysterious fog, oblique mes­sages from Rylie’s ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Anathema, Mermaids Monthly, Zooscape, and FIYAH

Anathema 12/21 Mermaids Monthly 12/21 Zooscape 12/21 Fiyah 12/21, 1/22

Every year a few publications put out is­sues on December 31, and 2021 was no exception. Aside from Baffling Magazine, which I looked at last column, both Anathema and Mermaids Monthly released their December issues on the final day of the month and year, and while that might make them easy for busy readers to miss, both are very much ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

The Grimrose Girls, Laura Pohl (Sourcebooks Fire 978-1-7282-2887-7, $10.99, tp, 400pp) November 2021.

Laura Pohl’s The Grimrose Girls is set in an elite, extra gothic-y, boarding school in Switzerland where three classmates are reeling from the recent death of their best friend, Ariane. It is no surprise that Ella, Yuki, and Rory are unsettled by the loss and deeply suspi­cious of the circumstances surrounding Ariane’s drowning. So, following in ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

Bright Ruined Things, Samantha Cohoe (Wednesday Books 978-1-25-076884-1, $18.99, 352pp, hc) February 2022.

Samantha Cohoe’s intriguing mashup of Shake­speare’s The Tempest and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby makes for a thoroughly immersive read. Set on an island dominated by the wealthy and powerful Prosper family, Bright Ruined Things focuses on a single day when 18-year old Mae, daughter of a deceased but much loved retainer of Lord Prosper, finds herself ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Upper World by Femi Fadugba

The Upper World, Femi Fadugba (Penguin UK 978-0-24-150561-8, £7.99, 368pp, tp) August 2021. (Harper Teen 978-0-06-307859-8, $18.99, 368pp, hc) December 2021.

In a note to readers preceding his perceptive debut title, The Upper World, author Femi Fadugba recalls a quantum physics paper he wrote as a university student which was published in a respected scientific journal leading to a na­tional award and presentation before the Houses of Parliament. ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

Walking in Two Worlds, Wab Kinew (Penguin 978-0-7352-6900-2, $17.99, 281pp, hc) Septem­ber 2021. Cover by Jay Soule | CHIPPEWAR.

Bagonegiizhigok ‘‘Bugz’’ Holiday lives on the Anishinaabe Reservation where she is a mostly happy, somewhat anxious, a little bit frustrated, but dearly loved teenager. With a handsome, athletically gifted older brother (who’s also a really great guy) capturing a lot of attention, Bugz buries her insecurities about her body and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Terciel & Elinor by Garth Nix

Terciel & Elinor, Garth Nix (Katherine Tegan 978-0-06304-932-1, $19.99, hc 352pp) Novem­ber 2021.

Terciel & Elinor is a prequel to Garth Nix’s blockbuster Sabriel, taking place more than a decade before that character was born. Readers need not worry that they must be familiar with the Old Kingdom in order to enjoy this new book, however. Nix provides plenty of backstory for his fans to enjoy, but anyone ...Read More

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The Year in Review 2021 by Colleen Mondor

Of the three dozen books I reviewed for Locus last year, there were a few that particularly stood out. Because last year was, well, such a year, I’m afraid some of them might have been overlooked, and taking advantage of my chance here to shine the spotlight a little brighter on those I think might have been missed.

Femi Fadugba’s The Upper World introduces Esso, who is having the worst ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Once More Upon a Time, Roshani Chokshi (Sourcebooks 978-1-72823-982-8, $14.99, hc 144pp) October 2021.

Roshani Chokshi’s sublime novella Once More Upon a Time is an absolute treat that manages to be both an homage and a challenge to several classic fairy tales. There are two lovers, Ambrose and Imelda, laboring under a devastating bargain with a witch who demands they embark on a great quest in order to set ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Sisters of Reckoning, Charlotte Nicole Davis (Tor Teen 978-1-25029974-1, $17.99, hc 342pp) October 2021. Cover by Chung-Yun Yoo.

Charlotte Nicole Davis’s The Good Luck girls was a blazing spin on the classic western that appeared in 2019, and sequel The Sisters of Reckoning is more of the same strong storytell­ing. With the world firmly established in the first book and nearly all of the characters introduced there, this ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera

We Light Up the Sky, Lilliam Rivera (Bloomsbury 978-1-5476-0376-3, $17.99, hc 240pp) October 2021.

In what is likely one of the first pandemic-related novels for teens, author Lilliam Rivera’s We Light Up the Sky drops an alien invasion into the lives of three Los Angeles teens who are still reeling from COVID. (It’s important to note that the pandemic is not caused by the aliens; they just happen to ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch

Lies My Memory Told Me, Sacha Wunsch (Inkyard Press 978-1-335-01827-4, $18.99, hc 320pp) October 202 1.


Sacha Wunsch’s just slightly futuristic debut Lies My Memory Told Me offers up an excellent technological twist with the invention of “Enhanced Memory.” People no longer have to spend the money to travel, take the time to learn a new skill, or risk their lives on activities like racing cars. They can ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

Within These Wicked Walls, Lauren Blackwood (Wednesday Books 978-1-250-78710-1, $18.99, hc 336pp) November 2021.

The publicity materials for Lauren Blackwood’s Within These Wicked Walls describe the book as an “Ethiopian-inspired debut retelling of Jane Eyre.” If you aren’t a fan of Charlotte Bronte’s classic this might put you off the book, whereas, if you are a fan, you might be instantly concerned that the marketing machine is overreaching. ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad

Mercury Boys, Chandra Prasad (Soho Teen 978-1-64129-265-8, $18.99, 360pp, hc) August 2021.

When Saskia Brown persuades her friend Lila to let her “borrow” a daguerreotype from the library archive where she works, neither girl can imagine that the old photograph will be a vehicle for time travel, romance, and a near-death experience. The twist in Chandra Prasad’s Mercury Boys is that the nightly adventures in the past are not ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke

Curse of the Specter Queen, Jenny Elder Moke (Hyperion 978-1-36806-398-2, 340pp, hc) June 2021.

Jenny Elder Moke’s Curse of the Specter Queen is an archeological thriller with para­normal aspects that reads as very Raiders of the Lost Ark, plus demonic possession plus villainous trust funders. Samantha Knox is the code-breaking antiquities genius, her friend Jo Steeling is the tough bad-ass who gets them out of trouble, and Jo’s ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Magic, Liselle Sambury (McElder­ry Books 978-1-53446-528-2, $19.99, 496pp, hc) June 2021. Cover by Thea Harvey.

In an intoxicating blend of science fiction and fantasy, author Liselle Sambury has written in Blood Like Magic a novel that embraces technological advances while wholly immersing the text with magic. Set in Toronto in the year 2049, teenager Voya Thomas has at last experienced her Calling – the moment when one ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

A Lesson in Vengeance, Victoria Lee (Delacorte Press 978-0-593-30584-3, $18.99, 384pp, hc) August 2021. Cover by Maggie Enterrios.

From start to startling finish, Victoria Lee’s A Lesson in Vengeance is a dream novel for fans of dark academia. Felicity Morrow has returned to the Dalloway School after receiving intense counseling following the previous year’s tragic death of her classmate/girlfriend, Alex. She will now be back in their former dorm, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Darling by K. Ancrum

Darling, K. Ancrum (Imprint 978-1-250-26526-5, $18.99, hc, 281pp) June 2021.

As author K. Ancrum opens Darling, her dark and mysterious take on Peter Pan, she offers up an epigraph from Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy as a hint of what’s to come. Here’s a bit:

The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Summer in the City of Roses by Michelle Ruiz Keil

Summer in the City of Roses, Michelle Ruiz Keil (Soho Press 978-1-64129-171-2, $16.99, 336pp, hc) July 2021.

Michelle Ruiz Keil follows up her gor­geous novel All of Us With Wings with a magical realism, myth-infused adventure set in Portland, Oregon. Summer in the City of Roses is the story of Iph and Orr, siblings who are separated by the machinations of their well-meaning father, who makes a decision with ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly Devos

Eat Your Heart Out, Kelly Devos (Razorbill 978-0-593-20482-5, $18.99, 352pp, hc) June 2021.

Just when you thought no one needed another zombie novel, author Kelly Devos gives readers Eat Your Heart Out, a terror-filled foray into weight-loss camp that will not be soon forgotten. Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of zombie stories, but I was intrigued by Devos’s premise and completely won over by her charac­ters. I knew ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Switch by A.S. King

Switch, A.S. King (Dutton 978-0-525-55551-3, $17.99, 225pp, hc) May 2021.

Award-winning author A.S. King excels at surrealist explorations of society, and her latest novel, Switch, is no exception. For Tru Becker and everyone else on Earth, time stopped on June 23, 2020. Every day is like every day, and in this ‘‘fold in time and space’’ the planet keeps spinning but nothing changes. To stave the fear such ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Flash Fire by TJ Klune

Flash Fire, TJ Klune (Tor Teen 978-1250203687,$18.99, 384pp, hc) July 2021.

Before I write anything about Flash Fire, T.J. Klune’s sequel to The Extraordinaries, I need to warn that this will be a spoiler-laden review. It’s frankly impossible to write it any other way as everything in the first book so directly impacts the second. So, go read The Extraordinaries and then come back here for my ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Coming Storm by Regina M. Hansen

The Coming Storm, Regina M. Hansen (Atheneum 978-1-5344-8244-9, $17.99, 272pp, hc) June 2021. Cover by Tran Nguyen.

Regina Hansen’s darkly charming novel, The Coming Storm, is a historic fantasy heavily steeped in folklore and place. Set in 1949 among the Scottish-Canadian community of Prince Edward Island, it tells a story of mythological monsters and music that calls to mind stories like Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Juniper Wiles by Charles de Lint

Juniper Wiles, Charles de Lint (Triskell Press 978-1-989741-01-6, $14.99, 191pp, tp) April 2021

Charles de Lint returns to the familiar urban fantasy environs of Newford with this new mystery, Juniper Wiles. While the title character is surrounded by characters longtime fans will recognize (Jilly Coppercorn prominent among them), Juniper Wiles’s story is fresh and decidedly modern. Although she is 30, older teens will likely find this book quite ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Infinity Courts, Akemi Dawn Bowman (Simon & Schuster 978-1534-456495, $19.99, 465pp, hc) January 2021. Cover by Casey Wel­don.

It is not a spoiler to say that the protagonist of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s The Infinity Courts spends most of the novel dead. Nami Miyamoto is shot and killed by an armed robber in a con­venience store by page 18 of the narrative. From that moment, she spends her time ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Girl from Shadow Springs by Ellie Cypher

The Girl from Shadow Springs, Ellie Cypher (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 978-1-534-46569-5, $19.99, 311pp, hc) February 2021. Cover by Lente Scura.

In the extremely gritty survival story, The Girl from Shadow Springs, 17-year old Jorie and her sister Brenna carve out a sad living in the frozen wasteland surrounding the barely there town of the title. Jorie finds the corpses of treasure hunters out on ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

Muse, Brittany Cavallaro (Katherine Tegen, 978-0-062-84025-7, $17.99, 332 pp, hc) February 2021. Cover by Florian Schommer.

In Brittany Cavallaro’s alt-history Muse, the first book in a duology, readers immediately learn that George Washington decided in 1782 to assume the crown of the First American Kingdom. One hun­dred years later, the Washington family has formed an enduring monarchy and the country is divided into regions with provincial governors (a ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space, Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 978-1-534-44853-7, $19.99, 450 pp, hc) January 2021. Cover by Jon Contino.

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space starts with a bang when Noa wakes up in a space suit floating outside the ship Qri­osity with no idea how he got there. Yep, he went to sleep in his bed and woke ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue

All Our Hidden Gifts, Caroline O’Donoghue (Walker 978-1-5362-1394-2, $19.99, 384pp, hc) June 2021.

As Caroline O’Donoghue’s All Our Hidden Gifts begins, readers are introduced to Maeve Chambers, an otherwise typical Irish teenager who suffers from a bit of impulse control when it comes to her temper. After a failed attempt at obtaining popularity a few years earlier, during which she sacrificed her relationship with her lifelong best friend Lily, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow

A Chorus Rises, Bethany C. Morrow (Tor Teen 978-1250316035, $17.99, 272pp, hc) June 2021.

In A Chorus Rises, sequel to A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrow continues to give her penetrating attention to the hazards young Black women face when they possess a significant amount of magic and power. Following closely on the heels of the earlier book’s shattering finale, A Chorus Rises picks up the ...Read More

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