Kirkus + Bang = Star

Kirkus logo

I’m thrilled to announce that Bang has received its second starred review, this time from the folks at Kirkus! (The first star was from School Library Journal.)

Here’s a snippet:

Rich characterization anchors this explosive novel, from white Sebastian’s likable, brainy, but at-times acerbic intensity to Aneesa’s upbeat, intelligent kindness. Aneesa is Muslim—her dad is Turkish-American—and she and Sebastian discuss everything from Islamophobia to their families to how to turn his pizza-making hobby into a YouTube Channel…. Readers will root for him to find some sort of peace.

Heartbreaking and brutally compelling.

Read the entire review over at Kirkus.

(You can read an excerpt of Bang at EW.com!)

A Star for BANG!


I’m thrilled to announce that School Library Journal has given Bang a starred review in its February 17 issue, saying, in part:

Lyga (I Hunt Killers) tackles a number of relevant issues in this heartbreaking novel, including gun control, suicide, and religious and racial prejudice. The pain and anguish Sebastian feels every day are raw and chafing, and the chemistry between Sebastian and Aneesa is tender and realistic. VERDICT With a number of sensitive issues addressed, along with frequent graphic language, this book may be best for a mature audience, who will fully appreciate the unwavering and stark realism.

Thanks, SLJ!

(You can read an excerpt from Bang at EW.com!)

SLJ on The Secret Sea

The Secret Sea coverJust in time for launch day, School Library Journal offers up its take on The Secret Sea! (Once again, I’ve redacted a bit for spoiler purposes. Emphasis mine.)

Terrifying visions of subway stations flooded by ocean water. A somnambulistic journey to the World Trade Center. Things are definitely getting weirder by the day for Zak Killian, and that’s before he uncovers the secret of [SPOILER]. That reveal leads Zak and his best friends Khalid and Moira into an alternate universe where Zak can [SPOILER]. Lyga creates a compelling and impressively fleshed out alternate universe; sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian elements feature throughout, from mysterious wild magic to the glowing electroleum power source. A subplot involving the brutal repression of women by means of a legal system very similar to our own slavery adds depth to the comparison of the two worlds. Though upper–middle grade through young adult readers will appreciate these elements, the narrative’s success ultimately relies on its compelling adventures and character development. However, it is somewhat disappointing that readers have to wait roughly about 100 pages to cross into the alternate universe proper. VERDICT Though it might start a little slow some for some, this work ultimately delivers the sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian goods and will draw in middle schoolers with its impressive world-building. A strong choice for many young adult and upper–middle grade collections.

The Secret Sea in PW

PW logoThe folks at Publishers Weekly have chimed in on The Secret Sea…and it seems like they dig it! Their review is below…sort of.

I say “sort of” because I’ve redacted a little bit of it for spoiler reasons. No offense meant to PW — I just feel strongly about that sort of thing. 🙂

Anyway, here it (mostly) is:

The Secret Sea cover

When 12-year-old Zak Killian starts dreaming of boats and having visions of flooded Manhattan subways that no one else can see, he begins to think that the voice he keeps hearing in his head might not be his imagination. In a thrilling standalone adventure from Lyga (I Hunt Killers), Zak learns that his longstanding heart condition is [SPOILER!] Now Zak [SPOILER!]and his best friends Khalid and Moira venture into a parallel universe. Lyga used the real-life mystery of a ship under Ground Zero as a spark for the story, and an endnote gives more information and context to the discovery. Readers will love the fast-paced action and terrifying details of the alternate timeline Zak and friends find themselves in, and the satisfying conclusion will leave them considering questions of identity and family.

New Review: After the Red Rain

The May 15 edition of Booklist contains the second review of After the Red Rain, following on the heels of a great first one from School Library Journal. Here you go:

Lyga’s foray into the popular genre of dystopian romance seems tailored to be a blockbuster (especially given his collaborators are an actor and a producer). Though it hits genre conventions hard, it’s well written and unusual enough to stand out. In earth’s future, long after the planet’s ruin and mass species extinction, people live in cramped, perpetually warring Territories. After a hard childhood in an orphanage, Deedra is proud to be supporting herself with factory work building air scrubbers and going on scavenging forays into the crumbling cityscape called the Wreck. One day she sees a boy struggling to cross a poisoned river and rescues him. He calls himself Rose, and everything about him is strange: he is too pretty and perfect, without a Territory brand, and inexplicably living off the denuded land. He thinks differently from everyone else, too, which puts him and Deedra in danger from the tyrannical magistrate. Rose’s true genetic nature is unexpectedly novel, and that—combined with striking imagery, thrilling action, and adolescent true love—makes this a sure bet. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Lyga gets his mitts on dystopian romance? Better get two.