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 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!

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!

Some Game Reviews!

There have been a few new Game reviews lately, so I’ve posted a review page for the book. Go on and check it out to see what BooklistPublishers WeeklySchool Library Journal, and some others are saying!