Next book

THE BREAKUP LISTS

Love deserves a standing ovation in this multilayered exploration of what it truly means to feel seen.

A stage manager and his sister both develop a crush on the same guy.

Everyone thinks juniors and longtime queer platonic besties Jackson and Bowie should date. But Iranian and white Jackson, who’s deaf, must constantly triage his sister Jasmine’s relationship woes by making breakup lists that extol her exes’ worst qualities. When white, “classically handsome” swimmer Liam auditions for the fall musical, trouble ensues when both Jackson and Jasmine start crushing on him. Jasmine pursues Liam first, making Liam “absolutely, 100 percent off limits.” But Liam keeps tucking in Jackson’s shirt tags. He also starts learning sign language from Bowie, a nonbinary, Black, aromantic, and asexual child of deaf adults. Liam hopes this will help them communicate better, a meaningful action and something Jackson’s family hasn’t put much effort into. What’s a boy to do? This sweet, slow-burn sibling love triangle with an added sprinkling of family drama rivals Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper (2020) in its cuteness and appeal. Countless references show an insider’s knowledge of—and reverence for—high school theater. The strong first-person narration immerses readers in Jackson’s story, and the use of “somethingsomething” effectively conveys times when Jackson, who wears hearing aids and reads lips, misses dialogue. The supporting characters bring additional diversity in race and queer identity.

Love deserves a standing ovation in this multilayered exploration of what it truly means to feel seen. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593616390

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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

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

Close Quickview