An absolute bop; Khorram’s best yet.

A boy band’s gay megastar struggles under public scrutiny.

Canadian boy band Kiss & Tell may have started out as a joke, but the five teens’ 2022 multicity tour is no laughing matter. While their first show brings feelings of euphoria, the spotlight shines a little too brightly on Hunter Drake when his ex-boyfriend posts their sexts on social media. The fans react negatively, prompting The Label to quickly revamp Hunter’s image with an updated wardrobe. The Label also plays matchmaker, suggesting a new beau: recently out Iranian American Kaivan Parvani from Kiss & Tell’s boy-band opener, PAR-K. Sparks fly, and the two boys decide to date for real. As Hunter, who is White, spends more time with Kaivan and less working on Kiss & Tell’s pivotal third album, tensions build among the band. Can they make it until the end of the tour? This is a love letter to boy bands, complete with lyrics and chord progressions that lend a sense of joyous authenticity. Combining first-person narrative with fictional interviews, think pieces, fan fiction, and more, the author effectively encapsulates the ecosystem of celebrity and fandom—and cultivates a strong, contemporary social message. Hunter’s myopic focus on his own queerness and objectification in the music industry opens the door for important conversations about the impact of identity, particularly as other members of the ethnically diverse band engage with him in ways that cleverly complicate readers’ reactions.

An absolute bop; Khorram’s best yet. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-32526-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022


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


A searing romance.

Two girls wounded by their past relationships grapple with the undeniable intensity of their feelings for one another in this novel based on the pop-star author’s popular song and music video.

Seventeen-year-old Coley, who is White and Japanese, braces for impact as a minivan hurtles toward her in a parking lot. The crash never comes, but in that moment, she and fierce Sonya, beautiful with her tan skin and dark hair and eyes, collide. Horrible circumstances brought Coley to small-town Oregon; after her mom’s suicide, she’s raw with grief and stuck living with the dad who abandoned her when she was 3. Wealthy, competitive dancer Sonya feels no less trapped. Afraid of rejection and loneliness, she buries her true self to appease her perfectionist mother and the demanding ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go. Unspoken attraction pulls Coley and Sonya together, but the masks they wear to protect themselves from their pain create a barrier that may keep them apart. Set in the summer of 2006, the novel alternates Sonya’s public and private LiveJournal posts that reveal her side of the story with Coley’s first-person narration. Sharp, poetic prose heightens the emotional and romantic drama. References to early 2000s pop and alternative music in Sonya’s posts create a playlist that sheds more light on her feelings. Coley demonstrates satisfying character growth as she opens up to herself and others. Apart from Coley, most characters are presumed White.

A searing romance. (content note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781250817631

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023