50 Booklist February 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
deadly sins. When juniors at Paloma High get
wind of a student-teacher affair, none of them
immediately think of Juniper, their class salu-
tatorian, who seemingly has all her ducks in
a row. But, then again, how easily could their
classmates guess the sins and secrets that they,
too, bury far beneath the surface? The inter-
connected threads of this book explore wrath,
greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony,
without ever veering toward didacticism. Al-
though these threads do not perfectly cohere
into a story, they nevertheless demonstrate
Redgate’s deep understanding of character
and empathy for the struggles today’s teens
face in a world that expects perfection and
happiness. The narrative is effortlessly read-
able, though the voices are so of-the-moment
that they may feel dated in a few years. Still
only a college student herself, Redgate is cer-
tainly a writer to watch. A truthful take on
the raw, messy, awkward lives of teenagers.
Shades of Darkness.
By A. R. Kahler.
Mar. 2016. 304p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $17.99
(9781481432573). Gr. 9–12.
Kaira, fleeing a devastating event from her
past, hides out at the Islington Arts Academy,
headquartered in snow-laden upper Michigan. Her thesis, the culmination of two years
of work, is coming due, but even with great
friends like Ethan and Elisa, she is distracted
by things she sees as omens, reminders of past
traumas. When she tells her friends some of
what happened to her, Kaira feels like she has
finally banished some of her demons. Unfortunately, the mysterious omens—crows and
ravens cawing everywhere and terrible, dark
dreams—will not go away. Death keeps following her, mysterious entities demanding
their due. Only the tip of their mythological
desires are revealed in this first of a planned
series, and the ending will have readers beg-ging for more. The mystery does take a few
chapters to get going, but strong writing and
characterization ultimately make the journey
captivating. This successfully straddles the
lines between realistic fiction, urban fantasy,
and horror, and is ideal for all YA collections.
A Study in Charlotte.
By Brittany Cavallaro.
Mar. 2016. 336p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99
(9780062398901). Gr. 9–12.
Far from his London home, Jamie Watson
is still adjusting to his Connecticut boarding
school, Sherrington, when he meets Charlotte
Holmes, the great-great-granddaughter of the
famed detective. Is it pure coincidence, or is
something else afoot? When one of their fel-
low students is murdered, Watson is drawn
into the peculiarly compelling and idiosyn-
cratic Holmes’ orbit. The two work together
to clear their names, all the while fearing for
their very lives. Fans of television’s Elemen-
tary and Sherlock will avidly devour this book,
which draws heavily from Arthur Conan
Doyle’s source material, though newcom-
ers to Doyle’s work may struggle to keep up
with Charlotte’s impressively quick thinking.
Less a mystery for readers to solve, Cavallaro’s
debut, yet another reimagining of the iconic
detecting duo, is more of a joyous excuse to
watch one of the literary world’s most beloved
pairings come together. Readers will delight
in the romantic friction between Holmes and
Watson, particularly when it comes to their
long-awaited union. A smart adaptation with
an already built-in fan base. —Jennifer Barnes
These Vicious Masks.
By Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas.
Feb. 2016. 352p. Feiwel and Friends/Swoon Reads, paper,
$9.99 (9781250073891). Gr. 8–12.
As girls in nineteenth-century England, Evelyn and her sister, Rose, are expected to attend
balls in the hopes of landing a good marriage.
Rose knows she would rather be helping people as a doctor than dancing, but Evelyn isn’t
sure what she wants—just a way out. When
Rose disappears, after whispers of “healing
powers” surround her, Evelyn grows desperate to find her, and in the process, she finds
out she too has some extraordinary abilities.
Striking a strong balance between romance
and mystery, this novel captures society’s rules
just as well as it does the unbelievable powers
of the main characters. Readers will easily be
swept up in its fast pace and sympathetic narrator, who is filled with both self-doubt and
the resolve to do anything to protect those she
loves. This is a perfect pick for someone who
wants a little magic in their Victorian novels,
and its combination of historical fiction and
mysticism will remind readers of Libba Bray’s
Gemma Doyle trilogy. —Molly Horan
A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories
of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other
Ed. by Jessica Spotswood.
Mar. 2016. 368p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763678487).
Brassy bank robbers, brave trailblazers, and
ball-busting debutants make all sorts of noise
in this collection of 15 sto-
ries. The settings span North
America between 1710 and
1968, and the stories fea-
ture a variety of heroines.
Some love boys, some love
girls, and some don’t love
anyone; they are siblings
and daughters; and they
represent a multitude of ethnicities and social
classes. Though several of the stories contain
fantastical elements, this is ultimately histori-
cal fiction at its finest, and it boasts a host of
hot YA authors, including Marie Lu, Marissa
Meyer, Elizabeth Wein, and Kekla Magoon.
The collection as a whole is strong, though
standouts include Leslye Walton’s “El Desti-
nos,” a fable of fate in 1840s Texas; Andrea
Cremer’s “High Stakes,” which pairs a mytho-
logical creature with the dynamics of America
just before the Civil War; Lindsay Smith’s
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