Round I, Bracket XIV: Undead Girl Gang vs. The Cruel Prince

Undead Girl Gangby Lily Anderson

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

For a book about raising your friend (and enemies) from the dead, this was a light read full of wit, snark, and general teenage awkwardness. While ostensibly a supernatural murder mystery this book became more about the the growing friendship between Mila, Riley, June, and Dayton. The development of June and Dayton’s characters have a quick turn around (they’re “undead” for a week), hurting the authenticity, however, some slack can be cut here since death probably has a way of forcing some perspective on a person. Recommend to readers who like their supernatural adventures on the lighter side (with a few gruesome corpse scenes thrown in),  and value a story that focuses on friendship and taking time to learn about who people really are – even if it is after death.

Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride
Croak by Gina Damico
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself

Black throws the reader into a lush and beautifully developed world, where all the characters are complex and come in varying shades of gray. The beautiful and magical Faerie world Jude lives in belies it’s dark and bloody reality. While the Fae cannot lie, nothing in this world is as it seems and no one, not even a sister, can be fully trusted. The plot takes several sharp turns getting to the end, always keeping the reader on their toes. Despite her humanness, Jude is not one to be trifled with and can be just as lethal, deceitful, and cruel as any of the Fae. Recommend to readers who like dark and rich fantasy worlds and main characters who fall into a moral gray area, which, let’s be honest, is sometimes more black than gray in this case..

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Winner: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

While Undead Girl Gang was fun there just wasn’t as much to it – the characters were less interesting (although definitely nicer) and its “twists” were more like gentle bends in the road. Holly Black’s world was masterfully crafted, its plot was intricate, and the characters were wonderfully nuanced.

Lisa Fisherkeller Barefield is the Head of Teen Services at Wheaton Public Library. She’s always looking for new places to travel (real world and fictional), regularly finds herself dancing to the music in her head, and considers herself to be a French fry connoisseur (to date Belgian fries dipped in mayonnaise are her favorite).

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3 thoughts on “Round I, Bracket XIV: Undead Girl Gang vs. The Cruel Prince

  1. Pingback: 2019 Tournament of Books | So like YA know…

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  3. Pingback: Round I, Bracket XIII: Blanca y Roja vs. The Astonishing Color of After | So like YA know…

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