The novel’s anti-abortion angle is likely to turn off a lot of readers; even a more conservative boy/girl-romance–loving...


From the Field Party series , Vol. 3

Welcome to Glines’ (Under the Lights, 2016, etc.) seemingly mostly white Lawton, Alabama, where apron-clad moms bake all day, cute boys ride around in pickup trucks, and high school football is the lifeblood of the community.

Two years ago, Rhett Lawton, the wealthy Lawton family’s eldest son, raped Riley Young. When Riley reported the rape, the entire town turned on her, driving Riley and her parents out of Lawton. Now the Youngs have returned to Lawton to take care of Riley’s ailing grandmamma. Riley (who wouldn’t recommend teen motherhood “because it [isn’t] a life choice”) is ready to keep her head down and get through her time here, but all the suffering—the rape, the shaming, the shunning—was worth it, because now Riley is mother to a beautiful daughter, 15-month-old Bryony. “I’d live through it all again if I could have this,” she says. Star quarterback Brady Higgens reviled Riley as much as everyone else at the time. Now a senior, Brady looks forward to college football. When chance brings Riley and Brady together, they tentatively become friends; as Brady begins to believe Riley’s account of what happened, the relationship deepens. Chapters alternate between Riley’s and Brady’s first-person, present-tense accounts; neither’s voice is particularly distinguished, and their romance develops along highly predictable lines.

The novel’s anti-abortion angle is likely to turn off a lot of readers; even a more conservative boy/girl-romance–loving crowd is likely to find it bland. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3893-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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