A lightly philosophical summer romance for any time of year.

TWO SUMMERS

Are there infinite realities in which every possible permutation of our choices exists?

It’s the summer between sophomore and junior year, and Summer Everett’s phone rings just as she’s about to board a plane to France. The caller ID says “unknown,” leaving the always-indecisive Summer with a dilemma: should she answer it? Here, the narrative splits into two possible realities. In the first, Summer silences the phone, shoves it into her pocket, and continues on her way to Les Deux Chemins—“The Two Paths”—in Provence, her famous artist father’s vacation home. In the second reality, Summer answers the phone; it’s her father, telling her not to come to France, and consequently, she spends the summer at home in sleepy Hudsonville, New York. Although the settings are vastly different, both Summers find romance (sadly, they both judge their worth by what boys think of them), discover their burgeoning talent for photography, and gather the courage to accept change and stop wondering “What if….” Experienced and observant readers will solve a devastating, long-kept family secret far ahead of Summer's discovery of same. The Provençal location is a refreshing change from the Parisian setting of so many other teen-abroad novels. Many teen readers who have visited France will relate to Summer’s bemusement over hand-held showering, iceless drinking water, and cheek kissing. Summer is white, but her Hudsonville friends are pleasingly diverse.

A lightly philosophical summer romance for any time of year. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-51807-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales.

COLD HEARTED

A TALE OF THE WICKED STEPMOTHER

From the Villains series

How did Cinderella’s stepmother come to be so wicked?

She may have been self-focused, but at least she wasn’t always so cruel. Lady Tremaine, mother of two spoiled daughters, is a lonely widow hoping for a bit of happiness. Unfortunately, when Sir Richard appears at her friend’s house party, she’s swept off her feet and fails to heed the frantic warnings of her dedicated, elderly lady’s maid. Had she ever bothered to read the book of fairy tales her late husband purchased years before, she might have recognized the perils of assuming the role of stepmother. Entranced by Sir Richard, she agrees to a hasty marriage and a move to the Many Kingdoms, where he reverts to his true, domineering nature and she and her daughters become virtual prisoners in his home. Although the Odd Sisters—clever, manipulative witches—try to intervene on her behalf, it seems her fate is already written; she becomes as cruel and demented as the story described. However, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and her sister, Nanny, have plans to rescue Lady Tremaine’s daughters as they develop much-needed, rehabilitative insights into the family’s dynamics. Mostly told from the Lady’s shallow, self-centered perspective, this is an entertaining retelling of the Disney “Cinderella” story from a different viewpoint, with references to the rest of the series woven throughout. Characters follow a White default.

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-02528-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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