A pleasant coming-of-age story for fans of teen romance.

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS

Recent high school graduate Julia Ducharme’s summer is off to a rough start.

Her best friend, Paige, is traveling to Japan to visit relatives, her longtime crush has shown up with a gorgeous girlfriend, and her mom has announced that she is thinking of selling their family campground and home. Julia’s little brother Caleb is recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome and is old enough to realize—with distress—that their financial troubles are connected to his long illness. After receiving the terrible news that her home may be sold, Julia meets a beautiful black-haired, olive-skinned stranger on the docks and spills her guts to him. She is shocked and angry to discover that the young man is Nick Constantine, son of the property developer who is looking to buy their campground. Julia and Nick are thrown together, and Nick falls in love both with the campground and Julia, deciding to do all that he can to help them keep their place, or at least keep its integrity intact. Sevigny’s (Kissing Frogs, 2014) portrayal of the emotional and financial struggles that can accompany illness in America ring true. Julia is a brave, independent, and competent female character who shows that you don’t need to be a femme fatale to be lovable.

A pleasant coming-of-age story for fans of teen romance. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-929-7

Page Count: 264

Publisher: KCP Loft/Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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