A satisfying supernatural YA tale that effectively mixes high school, magic and mystery.

THE SHADOW AND THE ROSE

Teenagers in love battle a supernatural villain in this debut young-adult novel.

Joy Sumner is an unassuming music student at Ash Grove, a prestigious performing-arts boarding school in North Carolina. Her father is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, so Joy spends her time in the company of her loyal, plucky friends. When they overhear someone teasing a new student about the school’s haunted graveyard, Joy bravely offers to put the myth to the test. She enters the graveyard at midnight and is surprised to find she’s not alone: Tanner Lindsey, a handsome Ash Grove dropout, is brooding there—and he and Joy soon share a dramatic kiss. Joy’s daring graveyard jaunt is overshadowed the next day by news of Melisande, a popular supermodel, arriving in Ash Grove with plans to recruit students as models. Joy is startled to find Tanner among Melisande’s entourage, scantily clad and apparently drowsy with lust for his mentor. He’s known now as Tristan, and he dismisses Joy, causing Joy’s friends to grow suspicious. Tristan appears on Ash Grove’s campus the next day, whisking Joy away and revealing how he went from being Tanner, a neglected musician, to Tristan, Melisande’s most promising protégé. Although Joy is concerned about Melisande’s mysterious power over Tristan, she continues their romance in secret until Melisande and her followers, including Tristan, disappear. While slogging through the emotional fallout, Joy discovers she’s pregnant. Not long after, she experiences a strange “time slip” on campus, and the school’s adults inform her that Ash Grove’s many myths may not be myths after all. Joined by her friends, Joy sets out to rescue Tanner from Melisande’s dangerous spell. The author portrays Joy and her friends smart and easy to love—especially Maddie, her sarcastic and protective best friend (she describes Melisande’s mansion as “the Ikea version” of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water home.) Readers may wish for a more daring future for Joy, but her and Tanner’s love is consistently believable. Their independence makes Ash Grove a realistic and engaging world, and its seclusion, fierce loyalties among friends, and compassionate adults are Hogwarts-like at times.

A satisfying supernatural YA tale that effectively mixes high school, magic and mystery. 

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1480099500

Page Count: 274

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

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RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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