Next book

THIS IS WHY THEY HATE US

An outstanding portrait of teenage longing, angst, and self-discovery.

A young bisexual man in East LA attempts to get over a long-term crush by pursuing other options.

High school junior Enrique “Quique” Luna has had feelings for Saleem Kanazi for quite some time, but Mexican American Quique is pretty sure that Saleem is straight, and this crush isn’t doing him any favors. In order to move on with his life and finally get some experience with guys, he enlists the help of Fabiola, his Afro-Latina bisexual best friend, to make moves on some quality prospects who might become something more. There’s dynamic, wild Manny Zuniga; chilled-out (and well-endowed) Tyler Montana; and even sweet, confident class president Ziggy Jackson. But although Saleem is away with his family for the first part of the summer, he still preoccupies Quique’s thoughts. Complicating matters, Quique is dealing with the suicidal ideation that has been plaguing him; he’s grappled with his mental health since the end of eighth grade. Tight, fast-paced prose guides readers through Quique’s attempts to unpack complicated tangles of desire, sexuality, and depression while laugh-out-loud punchlines pop up on every page. Aceves’ debut novel honors queer kids of color with earnest, honest depictions of messy teenage life. The tender portrayal of Palestinian American Saleem and his struggles with his family’s displacement in the Nakba is particularly bold and notable.

An outstanding portrait of teenage longing, angst, and self-discovery. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8565-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Next book

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Close Quickview