Tag Archives: demonology

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Lee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Lee. August 8, 2017. Amulet Books, 336 p. ISBN: 9781419725487.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 720.

She annihilates standardized tests and the bad guys.

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Racial taunts, Violence, Mild sexual themes, Alcohol, Smoking, Body humor

 

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Reviews

Kirkus Reviews starred (July 15, 2017)
A tough, self-disciplined Chinese-American teen deals with the supernatural derailing of her college-prep activities in this speculative fiction novel that draws on the folklore of the Chinese Monkey King. In a dry, wickedly funny, first-person voice, overachiever Genie Lo easily brings readers into her corner as she puzzles with irritation over the behavior of gorgeous, goofy Quentin, newly arrived from China, who presents himself as a new student at her school and seems to think he knows her. As his story—and subsequently hers—reveals itself, it will surprise no one that the two have an extensive history together, though her actual relationship to him is a clever and fascinating detail. Genie gradually warms to him in a true-to-type romantic comedy that is filled with witty banter and valiant attempts by Genie to resist their attraction. Genie’s poignantly rendered immediate family history and incisive observations about her mostly Asian classmates and community balance the plentiful action in the battles she and Quentin undertake against a plethora of ferocious, eerily described yaoguai. Readers unfamiliar with the story of the Monkey King are easily brought up to speed early on, and the contemporary setting provides plenty of comedic juxtaposition. An exciting, engaging, and humorous debut that will appeal widely, this wraps up neatly enough but leaves an opening for further installments—here’s hoping. (Fantasy. 13-18)

Publishers Weekly Annex (July 3, 2017)
When Eugenia “Genie” Lo, a 16-year-old Chinese-American overachiever, discovers that she’s the reincarnation of the Monkey King’s legendary weapon, the Ruyi Jingu Bang, it throws her carefully ordered life into upheaval. It turns out that there has been a massive jailbreak from Diyu, the Chinese hell, and only Genie has the power to defeat the escaped demons. Charged by the goddess Guanyin to work with Quentin Sun, the annoying (yet alluring) teenage manifestation of the Monkey King, Genie has to master her newfound powers and return dozens of demons to Diyu, while still making time for her best friend and staying on top of homework-too bad Harvard doesn’t offer scholarships for fighting evil. In this dazzlingly fun debut, Yee mixes humor, Chinese folklore, and action to deliver a rousing, irreverent adventure packed with sharp-edged banter. Genie is resourceful and ferocious as she juggles her tyrannically strict mother’s demands while holding the fate of the world in her hands, and her fiery love-hate relationship with Quentin steals the show. Ages 13-up.

About the Author

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and studied economics at Brown University. For his debut novel, he drew inspiration from the best and wisest people in his life. Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts. He currently calls the San Francisco Bay Area home.

His website is www.fcyee.com

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Hellfighters by Alexander Gordon Smith

Hellfighters by Alexanfder Gordon Smith. November 1, 2016. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 p. ISBN: 9780374301729.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 760.

Thrown into a relentless war against the forces of darkness, fifteen-year-old Marlow Green and his squad of secret soldiers must fight for control of the Devil’s Engines―ancient, infernal machines that can make any wish come true, as long as you are willing to put your life on the line. But after a monstrous betrayal, Marlow, Pan and the other Hellraisers find themselves on the run from an enemy with horrific powers and limitless resources―an enemy that wants them dead at all costs. Failure doesn’t just mean a fate worse than death for Marlow, it means the total annihilation of the world. And when all looks lost and the stakes couldn’t be higher, just how far is he willing to go?

Sequel to: Hellraisers

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Grotesque violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Online))
Grades 9-12. The second installment of the Devil’s Engine trilogy picks up after Hellraisers (2015) ended: with the battered and bruised Marlowe, Pan, and the other Engineers racing from and toward danger and destruction, in hopes of saving the world. Chapters alternate narration between Marlowe and Pan, whose relationship deepens, leading to even higher-stakes decisions for Marlowe as he seeks to locate and save his old friend Charlie. Adventure fans will be thrilled by the fast-paced, wall-to-wall action, and horror readers will delight at the supernatural terror and gore in the Engineers’ battle against chaos and pure evil.

Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2016)
The Hellraisers have been betrayed, and all hell is threatening to break loose, quite literally.With the help of their ragtag crew, Teens Marlow and Pan are back in this follow-up to Hellraisers (2015). This time they not only battle nightmarish creatures, but must also travel between dimensions and through time to stop the Engine from releasing hell on Earth and destroying the world. Smith takes readers on another twisted, twisting journey and—to paraphrase the narrative—leaves readers with “images that belong in the sickest of horror movies.” With the exception of using skin tones to convey emotions and ailments, descriptions of race are largely avoided, leaving readers to conclude that most of the main characters are not people of color, an inherent and unfortunate trend in horror. While this sequel is certainly a page-turner and will keep readers engrossed, it’s not perfect. The imminent threat of Pan’s and Marlow’s expiring contracts with the Engine doesn’t pack enough of a gut-wrenching punch to really make readers feel it; there are a few too many pep-talk scenes with teary-eyed Hellraisers giving group hugs; and Pan and Marlow’s budding (but apparently inevitable in books for teens) romance is hard to swallow, particularly from Pan’s perspective. Nevertheless, this brings the same fear, fire, and comic relief as its predecessor, and readers will be happy enough with this sequel to the first Faustian tale to look forward to the next one. (Horror. 14 & up)

About the Author

Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series of young adult novels, including Lockdown and Solitary. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The endless research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.  His website is www.alexandergordonsmith.com.

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Hellfighters on Amazon

Hellfighters on JLG

Hellfighters on Goodreads