Like a space explorer, Tara is thrust into the uncharted territory of life and must decide how she will navigate this new...

MIRROR IN THE SKY

New friends and the discovery of a new planet cause one teen to question her life on Earth—and beyond.

With her best (and only) friend spending a year abroad, Tara faces her junior year of high school as a loner. Even though she’s biracial Indian-American (with an Indian father and white mother) and stands out as the only person of color at her elite Greenwich, Connecticut, private school, the 16-year-old often feels invisible. But her world’s about to change when NASA receives a response to their Arecibo message and confirms a mirror planet, dubbed Terra Nova, and she’s invited to a party at popular Halle’s estate home. This quiet, thoughtful debut novel doesn’t bound with adventure, yet Tara’s internalized angst and quest for identity make the story a quick read. Beautiful language and mature, realistic adolescent situations flourish as Tara considers quantum physics and philosophical theories and whether a different or even better version of herself exists on the parallel planet. And are there other versions of the important people in her life? A mother who stays at home rather than joining a planet-worshipping cult? Another Nick, who loves her and doesn’t orbit around Halle? True friends?

Like a space explorer, Tara is thrust into the uncharted territory of life and must decide how she will navigate this new part of herself. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59514-856-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted

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THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS

A minute-by-minute account of mass murder at a high school by a former student.

Four students from a range of different backgrounds at Alabama's Opportunity High, all of whom have a history with Tyler, the gunman, take turns telling this harrowing story in the first person. They include his sister, Autumn, and her clandestine girlfriend, Sylv, who have only each other for solace as the home lives of both are in upheaval. Tomás, Sylv's brother, recounts his and his friend Fareed's desperate efforts to help from outside the school's auditorium, where their fellow students and teachers are locked in with Tyler as he picks them off one by one. Finally, Claire, Tyler's ex-girlfriend, realistically agonizes over what to do when she and a few others outside running track realize that the gunshots they hear are coming from inside the school. Grounded in the present, the story makes effective use of flashbacks that lay bare the pain and deception that have led up to the day's horror. The language can occasionally feel a bit melodramatic, with lines like "we're fighting for hope and a thousand tomorrows," but this is a minor side note to this compelling story of terror, betrayal, and heroism.

This brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4926-2246-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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