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THE 99 BOYFRIENDS OF MICAH SUMMERS

Self-reflective with satisfying depth.

Swept up by the fantasy of fairy-tale romance, an aspiring artist embarks on a modern-day quest for the boy of his dreams.

From the privacy of @InstalovesInChicago, his anonymous Instagram account, 17-year-old White boy Micah Summers, a former reality TV star with a famous father, posts drawings of his crushes reimagined as fantastical romance heroes. After 99 boyfriends, his fans are eager to see Boy 100, but after a disastrous attempt to ask his latest crush on a date, Micah refuses to post yet another secret infatuation without actually making a move. When fate sends him tumbling into a missed-connections encounter with a handsome fashion designer on the train, Micah pushes himself out of his comfort zone by immersing himself in the persona of Prince Charming and going on an adventure around the Chicago Loop to find true love with help from best friend Hannah, a straight Black girl. During his pursuit of an idealized relationship, Micah learns that love requires honest and open communication. His mistakes and growth through his insecurities add meaningful complexity to his romantic conflicts. Micah’s wealth also comes up as a subject of exploration. Refreshingly, even when relationships get messy, no one is the villain, and the story pushes back against the idea that young queer people have limited chances of finding love. Some black-and-white line illustrations of Instagram posts accompany the text.

Self-reflective with satisfying depth. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46478-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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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

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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

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