Plain Janes and lovelorn teens will appreciate the sound self-help tips and be inspired by the stronger, deserves-better...

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GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY

A story about creating one’s own identity is as common as a cup of joe but this is a bolder brew than most. The natural sweetener: Love is on the horizon for Sadie.

In a comedic and candid first-person narrative, Sadie recounts how she has been “madly, hopelessly, tragically in love with Garrett,” her BFF, for two years believing that, eventually, the Gods of Unrequited Crushes would smile on her. But Garrett’s confession of love never comes, and Sadie is shaken by the taunt of one of Garett’s exes: “you’re his own personal groupie.” Heartbroken, Sadie takes a job as a barista and comes up with a 12-step program, which cleverly punctuates the book, to wean herself from Garrett. But withdrawal is realistically tough, and Sadie hits rock-bottom when, in a hilariously manic scene, she sprawls face-down on the floor at work just to take a call from him. Sadie needs a support group. Enter the Totally Wired crew, a colorful cast worthy of the big screen, to help. The book is chock-full of high- and low-brow references, and a new world opens up to Sadie as she explores unfamiliar ideas and activities.

Plain Janes and lovelorn teens will appreciate the sound self-help tips and be inspired by the stronger, deserves-better Sadie who emerges, ready to give love another chance. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5507-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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An earnest examination of mental health in sports.

GEESE ARE NEVER SWANS

Sixteen-year-old Gus Bennett lives in the shadow of his older brother, Danny, a former Olympic swimming hopeful who recently died by suicide.

Gus does not have an easy home life: He has a strained relationship with his mother, a single parent who’s still struggling after Danny’s death; and his older sister, Darien, has a drug addiction and abandoned her now 18-month-old child to the care of their mother. But Gus hopes to train with Coach Marks, the renowned trainer who worked with his brother. He even sneaks into the country club to get access to the pool, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. He has his eye on qualifying for the national team and seems poised for success, but he soon experiences a downward spiral and engages in reckless behavior. Although the side characters are underdeveloped, Gus’ first-person narration carries the story along smoothly. Conceptualized by the late Academy Award–winning basketball player Bryant and written by Clark, this emotional novel contains lyrical prose that beautifully captures the energy of swimming and short chapters that will keep readers engaged. Physical descriptions are limited, suggesting a white default, but naming conventions suggest some diversity among the swim team members.

An earnest examination of mental health in sports. (resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949520-05-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

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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