A painful page-turner with heartwarming moments sprinkled throughout.

UNDER SHIFTING STARS

Fraternal twins Clare and Audrey have always been together, but after the death of their older brother, Adam, a rift has grown between them.

Clare explores her gender and orientation, weighing her identity and growing attraction to nonbinary student Taylor against her social life in public school. Meanwhile Audrey struggles to accept her neurodivergence and attendance at Peak, an alternative school for gifted students derided by her friends, who say it is for freaks. She tries to keep both facts hidden from her new friend and love interest, Calvin, who introduces her to the joys of LARPing. These two narratives are punctuated by bumbling attempts at a reconciliation between the twins; born 13 minutes apart, Clare is a Taurus and Audrey is a Gemini, a difference that is presented as symbolic of their contrasts. Latos’ prose is highly relatable, giving an accurate and gut-wrenching depiction of the uncertainty of growing up and finding oneself. She emphasizes the pain that comes from knowing that someone you love has changed without you along with the fear of being left behind. Bullying of queer and neurodivergent students is shown in all of its bitter truth. At the same time, Latos reassures readers that these situations are not hopeless. Fourteen-year-old Clare and Audrey, along with the rest of the cast, are cued as White.

A painful page-turner with heartwarming moments sprinkled throughout. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-06775-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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