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FICTION

These Vengeful Hearts

Inkyard. Sept. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335145871.
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Gr 7 Up–Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams is ready when she receives her invitation to join the Red Court. The Red Court rules over Heller High, doling out favors and exerting power over the student body and administrators. Two years ago, the secret society was responsible for the tragic accident that left Ember’s sister April paralyzed, and Ember has been plotting her revenge ever since. What she didn’t count on was feeling excited about her assignments from the Red Court. Even when she is tasked with bringing down her best friend, Gideon, thwarting the task and learning the reasons behind the request make her feel powerful. Soon, Ember loses sight of her original mission as she is pulled into the intrigue and power of the Red Court. There are many novels about secret societies in schools, though not all of them have the vicious bent this one does. The Red Court is willing to do just about anything—and hurt just about anyone. In first person, Ember draws readers into the drama of finding the members of the Red Court, including their leader, the Queen of Hearts, while trying not to lose her own identity. It takes a little bit to get into the story but after the first chapter, the narrative picks up. Ember is a well-drawn protagonist, and Gideon and April are more than just stock characters.
VERDICT Recommend this to fans of E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and Daisy Whitney’s The Mockingbirds.

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