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!)

Booklist on The Secret Sea

The Secret Sea cover

The first review of The Secret Sea is in, from the folks at Booklist! Check it out (emphasis mine):

Even though he’s grown up in New York City, 12-year-old Zak has lived a fairly sheltered life. He has a heart condition that has caused his parents, now in the middle of a contentious divorce, to keep tight tabs on him—and they would only be tighter if Zak’s parents knew he was hearing voices. But when Zak has a premonition of the subway filling with water and the mysterious voice he thinks of as his guardian angel warns him to run, Zak listens, only to find himself trapped in an alternate-universe New York with his two best friends, Moira and Khalid. Facing dangers from both this new world, which isn’t kind to women, and the increasingly untrustworthy voices in Zak’s head, the three struggle to find a way home that won’t have cataclysmic consequences. Lyga (After the Red Rain, 2015) returns to middle grade with a darkly compelling, if occasionally complicated, look at family, morality, and the long-term effects even seemingly small choices can have. A thoughtful—and thought-provoking—piece of science fiction.

“Occasionally complicated?” I was going for “always complicated.” 😉 Ah, well.

The First Review for After the Red Rain

Coming in August 2015!

I didn’t expect to be seeing reviews for After the Red Rain already ,but the folks at School Library Journal have already weighed in! And I think they kinda liked it…

Facinelli, aka Dr. Carisle Cullen from the “Twilight” movies, and producer DeFranco team up with YA author Lyga to create a powerful postapocalyptic novel. This particular version of the future is so far post the apocalypse that no one can remember how exactly they got there, though theories abound, most of them involving a “red rain” that may or may not have killed half of the world’s population. The main character, Deedra, was raised in an orphanage and now leads a plodding, government-controlled existence working in a factory and scavenging on her days off. It is on one of these trips that she meets the oddly named Rose, a boy her age who seems to have come from nowhere and is completely different from anyone she’s ever met. When Rose’s true nature is revealed—not a vampire or robot but something far stranger and more interesting—Deedra realizes that he may be the key to saving their dying world. She just needs to save him first. The story moves along without feeling rushed, and with the exception of the scenery-chewing magistrate, characters are fully formed and subtly drawn. VERDICT Not just another dystopia: strong characters and adept world-building make this work stand out from the crowd.

I think my favorite part is that bit early on about how “no one can remember how exactly they got there, though theories abound.” That was something I really cared about a lot, as a way of making this stand out from other post-apocalyptic stories.

Anyway, I’m glad SLJ dug it, and I hope you will, too, when it comes out in August!

Horn Book on “Blood of My Blood”

Blood of My BloodThe folks at Horn Book have weighed in on Blood of My Blood. Here’s what they have to say…

This trilogy-ender begins with a bang. Jasper “Jazz” Dent (son of infamous serial killer Billy Dent), his best friend Howie, and his girlfriend Connie have been investigating a “game” played by serial killers that resulted in a double-digit body count. Now the friends are separated, with each in danger and in pain: Jazz has been shot and is trapped in a storage unit; hemophiliac Howie is in the ER; and Connie is being held captive by Billy himself. Though Jazz is clearly the protagonist, the breakneck-paced, omniscient narrative follows each of the three teens as they fight to reunite and take down Billy. Along the way, Jazz and readers uncover more gruesome secrets about Jazz’s family and learn just how dark Jazz’s Billy-influenced heart may be. The previous two books raised tantalizing questions—what is the identity of Billy’s partner-in-crime, Ugly J? What happened to Jazz’s mother? What will Jazz do when he catches up with Billy?—and Lyga delivers with a vengeance. Not for the faint of heart.
Thanks, Horn Book!

A Second Star for Blood of My Blood

Blood of My BloodI am thrilled to announce that Blood of My Blood has received a second starred review, this time from School Library Journal. (The first one was from Booklist.)

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is locked in a storage locker with two dead bodies, trying to nurse his own bullet wound in the dim light of a fading cellphone. Picking up (without pause) from the cliff-hanger ending in Game (2013), Lyga’s series about the 17-year-old who was first introduced in I Hunt Killers (2012) as the son of escaped killer Billy Dent continues as he tries to aid the police in his father’s recapture. Unaware that his girlfriend Connie has been lured by Billy to a Brooklyn tenement house and imprisoned with Jazz’s mother, and that his hemophiliac friend, Howie, has been attacked, Jazz faces his demons alone—including repressed memories with sexual undertones, and the creepy voice of Billy educating his son on the acumen required to be a good serial killer (appearing in italics). The worrisome genetic factor plagues Jazz yet propels him in the right direction to foil some copycat killers and elude authorities long enough to solve his own life’s mysteries. Obstructing the law, the teen follows clues that take him back home to Lobo’s Nod for the chilling climax and surprise ending, despite red herrings thrown in the readers’ path at every turn. Connie and Howie continue to play major roles in this episode, often providing their own points-of-view, as do officers Hughes and Tanner as bumbling but likable authorities. As a trilogy wrap-up, this gory winner with raw appeal requires having read the first two titles.

Thanks, SLJ!