Funny, full of heart, and refreshingly free of a weight-loss arc.

THE SUMMER OF JORDI PEREZ (AND THE BEST BURGER IN LOS ANGELES)

Working at her favorite boutique and falling in love, a girl enjoys a lush Los Angeles summer—until things become complicated.

Pink-haired Abby Ives, age 17, has landed an internship at Lemonberry, a small store that includes plus-sizes in its snazzy, creative clothing designs. Abby runs her own plus-size fashion blog and is serious about a career in the industry, but her personal life is in less good shape: She’s never kissed a girl and worries she never will. Along comes Jordi Perez, photographer and unexpected co-intern at Lemonberry, who falls hard for Abby’s adorably awkward, chatty, gorgeous self. Their blissfully heady romance is a balm to Abby’s insecurities about being fat. Her mom, a food blogger who substitutes mashed cauliflower for hamburger buns and nutritional yeast for cheese, believes she needs to lose weight if she wants to lead a happy life and be pretty—but Abby has already achieved both. Yet issues of privacy and consent (photographic, not sexual) threaten this love story. Title notwithstanding, a subplot involving a food app and a hamburger quest offers little to chew on, but fans of colorful fashion and romance will be well-satisfied. Abby is white; Jordi is Mexican-American.

Funny, full of heart, and refreshingly free of a weight-loss arc. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-51072-766-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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“Cinderella” but with genocide and rebel plots.

ASH PRINCESS

From the Ash Princess series , Vol. 1

The daughter of a murdered queen plots to take back what is hers.

With her country seized and her mother, the Fire Queen of Astrea, murdered by invaders when she was only 6 years old, Theodosia has been a prisoner for 10 years, stripped of her crown, her people enslaved. Theo (renamed Thora by her captors) is at the mercy of the Kaiser—the fearsome ruler of the Kalovaxians—enduring his malicious whims in order to survive. But when the Kaiser forces Theo to execute her own father, survival is no longer good enough, and she finally takes up the mantle of queen to lead her people’s rise to resistance in a land saturated in elemental magic. Debut author Sebastian has invigorated some well-worn fantasy tropes (a displaced heir, an underground rebellion, and a love triangle that muddies the distinctions between enemies and allies), delivering a narrative that crackles with political intrigue, powerful and debilitating magic, and the violent mechanisms of colonization even as it leaves sequel-primed gaps. Some details—like Theo’s crisis of identity and Hamletian indecision—work well to submerge readers in a turbulent and enthralling plot; others, like racialized descriptions that fall short of actual representation (Atreans are dark-haired and olive-skinned, Kalovaxians are blond and pale-skinned) and the use of magic-induced madness for narrative shock and awe feel lazy and distracting among more nuanced elements.

“Cinderella” but with genocide and rebel plots. (Fantasy. 14-17)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6706-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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