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

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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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May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue.

SHIELDED

From the Shielded series , Vol. 1

A princess fights to save her kingdom while trying to conceal her magic.

On the eve of her 17th birthday, Princess Jennesara learns of her betrothal to the prince of Turia, an alliance made by her father to secure the neighboring kingdom’s military support in quelling the fighting at his borders. Before she is sent away to safety in Turia, she learns of other worrying developments brewing at home: A burned letter references a search for the mages’ library, illicit magic is being used in skirmishes at the borders, and there is a potential betrayal within her father’s circle of trust. She frets, too, about her own secret magic being discovered, for only her older brother, Ren, is supposed to possess magic. On their way to Turia, Jenna’s party is ambushed and she narrowly escapes. She is forced to fend for herself and find her own way to Turia to discover who betrayed her family and what secrets lie in the rumored mages’ library. Jenna conceals her identity and ingratiates herself with her betrothed’s family as she eludes the threat of a shadowy, sinister foe. Though overflowing with common fantasy tropes and featuring lengthy expository passages, this series opener nevertheless features affable characters and moves at a solid clip that will keep readers entertained. Jenna’s people are fair-haired while Turians are olive-skinned with dark hair.

May well beguile readers with its mix of magic and political intrigue. (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11853-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging and draining debut.

OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS

Two teenagers suffer through their first heartbreak.

Henry Page has spent his high school years with his nose to the grindstone, avoiding romantic relationships and focusing on becoming the editor of the school paper. At the start of his senior year Henry is offered the job, but there’s a catch: transfer student Grace Town is offered the gig as well, making the two white teens co-editors. Sparks fly as Henry works with the aloof, unkempt new girl, who walks with a cane. As Henry and Grace grow closer, Henry falls deeper for her even as he learns just how broken she is. In her debut, Sutherland mixes her love story with equal parts hope and ominous dread. There is never any doubt that this couple is marching toward romantic oblivion, but it’s an effectively drawn journey. The characters speak with a John Green–esque voice, but they are never overbearingly precocious. Narrator Henry’s a smartly rendered character, a decent kid who has goals and works hard to achieve them. His new goal is Grace’s affection, and the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object that is Grace’s emotional unavailability provides the novel some of its sharpest moments. When the walls tumble down, the connection between the two is clearly an unhealthy one, and the author pulls no punches, devastating Henry, Grace, and readers in equal measure.

An emotionally engaging and draining debut. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54656-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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