A thought-provoking and timely tale, told in an up-to-date, believable voice.

CRAZY LOVE

“[W]hen I was your age,” Kamiyah's older sister Erika explains in this engaging, well-paced cautionary tale, “…we used to call that kind of love 'crazy love'—becoming obsessed with a relationship.”

The summer before her senior year of high school, Kamiyah meets Sincere at a fraternity-hosted party. Soon, their relationship begins to consume her life. Kamiyah texts Sincere constantly, even while hanging out with her friends, and gets angry if she doesn't hear back right away. She worries that Sincere is cheating and stakes out his home to try to catch him. Meanwhile, Kamiyah's father gives her a BMW for her birthday, and Kamiyah ends up on punishment after arguing about it with her mother, whom she calls the Wicked Witch. Narrator Kamiyah sees her behavior as justified, but readers are given enough outside information (her friends' frustration with her constant texting, Sincere's discomfort when she fights the girl who flirts with him at a pizza shop) to take a different view. Both the dialogue and Kamiyah's narrative voice are fresh and current. Although the story ends somewhat abruptly, an epilogue set three months later gives readers some idea of how Kamiyah's life and choices have changed.

A thought-provoking and timely tale, told in an up-to-date, believable voice. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7582-7356-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dafina/Kensington

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli.

DEAD WEDNESDAY

For two teenagers, a small town’s annual cautionary ritual becomes both a life- and a death-changing experience.

On the second Wednesday in June, every eighth grader in Amber Springs, Pennsylvania, gets a black shirt, the name and picture of a teen killed the previous year through reckless behavior—and the silent treatment from everyone in town. Like many of his classmates, shy, self-conscious Robbie “Worm” Tarnauer has been looking forward to Dead Wed as a day for cutting loose rather than sober reflection…until he finds himself talking to a strange girl or, as she would have it, “spectral maiden,” only he can see or touch. Becca Finch is as surprised and confused as Worm, only remembering losing control of her car on an icy slope that past Christmas Eve. But being (or having been, anyway) a more outgoing sort, she sees their encounter as a sign that she’s got a mission. What follows, in a long conversational ramble through town and beyond, is a day at once ordinary yet rich in discovery and self-discovery—not just for Worm, but for Becca too, with a climactic twist that leaves both ready, or readier, for whatever may come next. Spinelli shines at setting a tongue-in-cheek tone for a tale with serious underpinnings, and as in Stargirl (2000), readers will be swept into the relationship that develops between this adolescent odd couple. Characters follow a White default.

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30667-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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