ARC Review | Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

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Early Departures

Author: Justin A. Reynolds // Published: September 22, 2020

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Justin A. Reynolds, author of Opposite of Always, delivers another smart, funny, and powerful stand-alone YA contemporary novel, with a speculative twist in which Jamal’s best friend is brought back to life after a freak accident . . . but they only have a short time together before he will die again.

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know he’s about to die . . . again.

He also doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save his life, rescuing him from drowning only to watch Q die later in the hospital. Even more complicated, Jamal and Q haven’t been best friends in two years—not since Jamal’s parents died in a car accident, leaving him and his sister to carry on without them. Grief swallowed Jamal whole, and he blamed Q for causing the accident.

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? An impossible chance that would grant him the opportunity to say goodbye to his best friend? A new health-care technology allows Q to be reanimated—brought back to life like the old Q again. But there’s a catch: Q will only reanimate for a short time before he dies . . . forever.

Jamal is determined to make things right with Q, but grief is hard to shake. And he can’t tell Q why he’s suddenly trying to be friends with him again. Because Q has no idea that he died, and Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin the miracle by telling him. How can Jamal fix his friendship with Q if he can’t tell him the truth?

 

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Mini ARC Reviews | The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story & Your Name Is a Song

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Your Name Is a Song

Author: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow & Luisa Uribe // Published: July 7, 2020

★★

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Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. Your Name is a Song is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.

 

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ARC Review | The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp and Manuel Preitano

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The Oracle Code

Author: Marieke Nijkamp and Manuel Preitano // Published: March 10, 2020

★★

 

Synopsis

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp (This Is Where It Ends) and artist Manuel Preitano unveil a graphic novel that explores the dark corridors of Barbara Gordon’s first mystery: herself.

After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed, Barbara Gordon enters the Arkham Center for Independence, where Gotham’s teens undergo physical and mental rehabilitation. Now using a wheelchair, Barbara must adapt to a new normal, but she cannot shake the feeling that something is dangerously amiss. Within these walls, strange sounds escape at night; patients go missing; and Barbara begins to put together pieces of what she believes to be a larger puzzle.

But is this suspicion simply a result of her trauma? Fellow patients try to connect with Barbara, but she pushes them away, and she’d rather spend time with ghost stories than participate in her daily exercises. Even Barbara’s own judgment is in question.

In The Oracle Code, universal truths cannot be escaped, and Barbara Gordon must battle the phantoms of her past before they swarm her future.

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ARC Review | Zatanna & the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody & Yoshi Yoshitani

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Zatanna & the House of Secrets

Author: Matthew Cody, Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrated by) // Published: February 18, 2020

★★★

 

Synopsis

Welcome to the magical, mystical, topsy-turvy world of the House of Secrets, where Zatanna embarks on a journey of self-discovery and adventure … all with her pet rabbit, Pocus, at her side.

Zatanna and her professional magician father live in a special house, the House of Secrets, which is full of magic, puzzles, mysterious doors, and storybook creatures–it’s the house everyone in the neighborhood talks about but avoids. Not that Zatanna cares, though, because she is perfectly content.

But at school one day, Zatanna stands up to a bully and everything changes … including her friends. Suddenly, Zatanna isn’t so sure about her place in the world, and when she returns home to tell her father, he’s gone missing, lost within their own home.

With thrilling twists from writer Matthew Cody and dazzling artwork by Yoshi Yoshitani, Zantanna and the House of Secrets will delight readers at the turn of every page–and the opening of every door!

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ARC Review | The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

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The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

Author: Roshani Chokshi // Published: September 22, 2020

★★★

 

They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.

Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost ― one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumoured to grant its possessor the power of God.

Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.

As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.

A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.

 

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ARC Review | Harley Quinn Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh

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Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Author: Mariko Tamaki & Steve Pugh // Published: September 3, 2019

★★★

Harleen is a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who lives in a ramshackle apartment above a karaoke cabaret owned by a drag queen named MAMA. Ever since Harleen’s parents split, MAMA has been her only family. When the cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harleen gets mad.

When Harleen decides to turn her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or join The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is at once a tale of the classic Harley readers know and love, and a heartfelt story about the choices teenagers make and how they can define–or destroy–their lives. This is the first title in DC’s new line of original graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers.

 

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ARC Review |Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (Graphic Novel)

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Author: Leigh Bardugo, Kit Seaton, & Louise Simonson // Published: January 7, 2020

★★★

 

Synopsis

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law–risking exile–to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer–a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies–mortal and divine–determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

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ARC Review |Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Graphic Novel)

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Batman: Nightwalker

Author: Marie Lu, Stuart Moore, & Chris Wildgoose // Published: October 1, 2019

★★★

 

Synopsis

A ruthless new gang of criminals known only as Nightwalkers is terrorizing Gotham, and the city’s elite are being taken out one by one. On the way home from his 18th birthday party, newly minted billionaire Bruce Wayne makes an impulsive choice that puts him in their crosshairs and lands him in Arkham Asylum, the once-infamous mental hospital. There, he meets Madeleine Wallace, a brilliant killer…and Bruce’s only hope. Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?
Adapted by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, this graphic novel presents a thrilling new take on Batman before he donned the cape and cowl.

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Blog Tour + Review: Frankly In Love by David Yoon

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Frankly In Love

Author: David Yoon / Published: September 10, 2019

★★★★.5

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High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

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Mini ARC Review: The Black Coats by Colleen Oaks

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The Black Coats

Author: Colleen Oaks // Published: February 12, 2019

★★★

Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you.

The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free.

Thea dives head first into the group, training every day with other girls whose stories rival hers. Together they carry out Balancings—acts of revenge guaranteed to teach a lesson. With every predator threatened, every blackmailer exposed, and every date rapist punished, Thea can feel herself getting closer to avenging Natalie’s death.

But then the Balancings begin to escalate in brutality, and Thea discovers that the Black Coats are not all they seem to be. Thea must confront just how far she’s willing to go for justice—and what kind of justice Natalie, and Thea herself, deserve. Because when the line between justice and revenge is razor thin, it’s hard not to get cut.

 

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