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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Colleen Mondor Reviews This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

This is Not the Jess Show, Anna Carey (Quirk 978-1-68369-197-6, $18.99, hc, 298pp) Febru­ary 2021.

From the moment readers first meet her in Anna Carey’s breakneck thriller, This is Not the Jess Show, it is clear that Jess Flynn is living a classic 1998 life. True, her younger sister Sara has been bat­tling an extremely rare disease for a few years and her parents are obviously frazzled with ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson

Yesterday Is History, Kosoko Jackson (Source­books 978-1-4926-9434-2, $17.99, hc, 320pp) February 2021.

Seventeen-year-old Andre Cobb has survived cancer and is six months into receiving a life-saving donor liver as Kosoko Jackson’s achingly romantic time-travel drama, Yesterday Is His­tory, opens. Andre is dearly loved by his parents, has a great best friend and, while he is struggling in school due to his illness-related absences, is still fortunate enough to ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book by Kate Milford

The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book, Kate Milford (Clarion Books 978-1-328-46690-7, $17.99, hc, 384pp) February 2021.

Kate Milford returns to the world of her Greenglass House novels with the be­guiling puzzle that is The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book. Set in a 19th-century-esque time period, the new title focuses on the 15 people waiting out an endless rain in the Blue Vein Tav­ern. The roads are flooded by the rising Skidwrack River ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found by Rucker Moses & Theo Gangi

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found, Rucker Moses & Theo Gangi (GP Putnam & Sons 978-0-525-51686-6, $17.99, 288pp, hc) February 2021.

The writing collaboration of Rucker Moses (pen name of Craig S. Phillips & Harold Hayes Jr.) and Theo Gangi has created Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found, an adventure novel of breakneck pacing and major magical concerns. It begins with the return, after four years, ...Read More

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Alex Brown and Colleen Mondor Review Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez

Written in Starlight, Isabel Ibañez (Page Street 978-1645671329, $18.99, 368pp, hc) January 2021.

Written in Starlight begins not long after the chaotic events of Woven in Moonlight, the first book in Isabel Ibañez’s young-adult fantasy duology. Ximena, the fake condesa, and Princess Tamaya remain in the capital as Catalina, the actual condesa, is banished to the jungle where she is expected to die. All Catalina has ever ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Lost in the Never Woods, Aiden Thomas (Swoon Reads 978-1-250-31397-3, $18.99, 384pp, hc) March 2021.

We all know the story of Peter Pan. It’s the kind of cultural phenomena that seeps into our bones at the earliest of ages. We learned it from a movie, someone read it to us, or we caught a glimpse of Tinker Bell on a backpack or T-shirt and had to know more. Because ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Mirror Season, Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel & Friends 978-1-250-62412-3 $18.99, 320pp, hc) March 2021.

Content warning: This title deals graphically with the emotional and psychological fallout from sexual assault.

As Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season opens, Graciela Cristales (“Ciela”) is dropping off a boy she does not know at the emergency room in her hometown of San Juan Capistrano, California. It quickly becomes clear that the two of them ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn, Tracy Deonn (Simon Pulse 978-1-534-44160-6, $18.99, 512pp, hc) September 2020.

In Legendborn, an epic blend of Arthurian legend and Southern Black magical tradition, author Tracy Deonn incorporates the endless allure of collegiate secret societies with a lighter version of Hunger Games-esque battles (not to the death), and a cast of demons to give readers a big adventure that doesn’t stop until the final pages. (And even then ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige

The Ravens, Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige (HMH Books 978-0-358-09823-2, $18.99, 400pp, hc) November 2020.

Kass Morgan & Danielle Page’s novel The Ra­vens combines several current YA trends. The primary setting is a college sorority comprised of witches who are mostly preoccupied with furthering their own popularity. They live in a gorgeous historic house, attend a Georgia col­lege that has an appropriately creepy cemetery nearby, and spend a lot ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses, Kristen O’Neal (Quirk 978-1-68369-234-8, $18.99, 384pp, hc). April 2021.

A ton of books have been published with were­wolf characters, but debut author Kristen O’Neal has written one that stands out for all that it lacks: no romance, no murder, no vampires, and no climactic battle between good and evil. Lycan­thropy and Other Chronic Illnesses takes read­ers into the world of a chronically ill young ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

Kind of a Big Deal, Shannon Hale (Roaring Brook 978-1-250-20623-7, $18.99, 389pp, hc) August 2020.

When Shannon Hale’s thoughtful Kind of a Big Deal opens, readers quickly discover that protagonist Josie Pie (her stage name), is living the unenviable reality of having peaked in high school. After flaming out in an ill-thought Broadway attempt, she is now the nanny for a sweet little girl whose dy­namic mother recently relocated ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Don’t Tell a Soul by Kirsten Miller

Don’t Tell a Soul, Kirsten Miller (Delacorte 978-0-525-58120-8, $20.99, 384pp, hc) January 2021.

Kirsten Miller’s outstanding thriller Don’t Tell a Soul is not only a first-rate mystery, it also man­ages to address just what it is about certain ghost stories, specifically those involving dead girls, which are so culturally pervasive. The novel’s protagonist has a special affinity for these girls and how their personal histories and true motiva­tions are ...Read More

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Year End Review by Colleen Mondor

While reading for Locus this year, I kept an unof­ficial list of notes about things I wanted to mention in my end-of-the-year es­say. The biggest word on the list is “WITCHES,” which cropped up in more than one memorable title to cross my desk. From the field hockey team that takes a solemn oath within an Emilio Este­vez notebook in Quan Bar­ry’s We Ride Upon Sticks to the mill workers ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg

Spellbreaker, Charlie N. Holmberg (47North 978-1-54202009-1, $14.95, 322pp, tp) November 2020.

The primary protagonist of Charlie N. Holmberg’s latest novel, Spellbreaker, has had a difficult life. Elsie Camden was mysteriously abandoned as a young child and subsequently delivered to a workhouse. She later became a servant for a truly odious master and now, although she is thankful to be a valued assistant for a stonemason and artist, she ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon Books 978-1-64566-007-1, $25.95, 384pp, hc) October 2020.

In C.L. Polk’s sparkling third novel, The Mid­night Bargain, Beatrice Clayborn is a young woman with a terrible problem. As a debutante participating in “Bargaining Season,” she must capture the attention of an appropriately wealthy and suitable man who will propose marriage and thus save her family from an ever-increasing threat of poverty and social ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Early Departures, Justin A. Reynolds (Kath­erine Tegen 978-0-06-274840-9, $17.99, 480pp, hc) September 2020.

It is not a spoiler to share that Justin A. Reynolds’s latest, Early Departures, is about what happens when someone you care about dies suddenly and then, through the miracle of technology, is reanimated for a few weeks so everyone can say a proper goodbye. This is not a zombie novel nor, surprisingly, much of ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase

The Silence of the Wilting Skin, Tlotlo Tsamaase (Pink Narcissus Press 978-1-939056-17-7, $12.00, 97pp, tp) May 2020.

The opening line of Motswana author Tlotlo Tsamaase’s searing novella hits readers hard and fast: “My Girlfriend was born on the train a week after her mother died,” she writes. From there the short chapters fly by as the unnamed narrator documents the train’s monthly arrival in her bisected city, carrying the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, Garth Nix (Katherine Tegen Books 978-0-06-268325-0, $19.99, 416pp, hc) September 2020.

In a version of 1983 London that is just a bit not-like the actual 1983 London, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father. Her mother, whose memories of Susan’s conception are fond but hazy, can provide only the vaguest of clues as to his identity, thus prompting her summertime quest. Susan’s plan to ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

The Extraordinaries, TJ Klune (Tor Teen, 978-1-250-20365-6, $18.99, 399pp, hc) May 2020.

TJ Klune follows up The House in the Cerulean Sea with another compelling human drama that is set in a world like our own, but with a few unexpected fantasy elements. In Cerulean Sea it was people with magical abili­ties; this time around, in The Extraordinaries, it’s somewhat unconventional superheroes. Teen Nick Bell lives with his ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Factory Witches of Lowell by C.S. Malerich

The Factory Witches of Lowell, C.S. Malerich (Tor.com Publishing 978-1250756565, $14.99, 128pp, tp) November 2020.

In the early 19th century, Lowell MA was known for its thriving textile mill industry. Unlike neighboring Rhode Island, the Lowell system developed a workforce made primarily of young women, all of whom worked 80 hours a week, lived in company-owned dormitories, and, be­cause of their gender, earned a lower salary than men. Historically, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Never Look Back, Lilliam Rivera (Blooms­bury 978-1-5476-0373-2, $18.99, 310pp, hc) September 2020.

In this modern retelling of the Orpheus and Eu­rydice myth, “Pheus” is a guitar playing lothario planning a fun-filled summer in the Bronx, and “Eury” is a Puerto Rican refugee of Hurricane Maria sent to recuperate with family. They come together at a typical teen beach party where Pheus tries his usual schtick and Eury exhibits no ...Read More

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