A highly readable YA novel about teen life and romance.

A gay high schooler dives into the dating world in Roamer’s fifth YA novel in a series.

High school junior RV is excelling academically at the prestigious Boston Latin School, but his guidance counselor tells him that he needs to find some extracurriculars to make his college applications shine. His best friend, Carole, uses this as an excuse to make RV her campaign manager in her quest to become a representative on the powerful School Site Council. However, his boss at the local movie theater decides to promote him to projectionist, which comes with a new slate of stresses. Meanwhile, RV’s Lithuanian immigrant parents, who now know he’s gay—though they haven’t said much about it—expect more help at home from RV and his brother, Ray, including assistance flipping a house they recently purchased. As RV struggles to handle these new responsibilities, he’s thrown into a tentative new relationship with Luke, a handsome new classmate whom he meets at a swanky party. Will RV manage to keep all his plates spinning while embarking on that most terrifying of teenage endeavors: dating? Roamer’s prose is slick and accessible, and he succeeds in placing the reader right in the middle of RV’s anxious adolescent mind. Here, for instance, the teen chastises himself for looking forward to a planned date with Luke: “Don’t get too excited, RV. You’ve been there before. You know how these things go. And even if Luke says you didn’t screw anything up the first time, that second chance is also another chance for screwing things up.” The book isn’t entirely realistic; RV and his peers don’t talk much like contemporary American teens, and with the exception of the opinionated Carole, the secondary characters don’t feel very distinctive. Regardless, RV makes for an endearing protagonist, and fans of earlier books in the series will not be let down by this one.

A highly readable YA novel about teen life and romance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-64890-490-5

Page Count: 130

Publisher: NineStar Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021


Summery fun and games with feeling.

A summer trip helps break 18-year-old Meredith Fox out of a haze of mourning.

Her cousin’s wedding means a return to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-loved destination but one filled with bittersweet memories. It’s been a year and a half since the sudden loss of Meredith’s sister, Claire, and the grief remains strong. Meredith, though, resolves to take this time to celebrate family and bridge the rifts resulting from ghosting friends. She didn’t plan on a meet-cute/embarrassing encounter with the groom’s stepbrother, Wit. Nor did she expect a wedding-week game of Assassin, a water-gun–fueled family tradition. What starts off as a pact of sharing strategic information with Wit grows into something more as the flirting and feelings develop. Only one person can win, though, and any alliance has an expiration date. To win and honor Claire, who was a master of the game, Meredith must keep her eye on the prize. Taking place over the course of a week, the narrative is tight with well-paced reveals that disrupt predictability and keep the plot moving. Early details are picked back up, and many elements come satisfyingly full circle. The short time frame also heightens the tension of this summer romance: What will happen when they leave the bubble of the Vineyard? The mix of budding romance, competitive hijinks, a close-knit circle, as well as dealing with loss make for a satisfying read. The main cast is White.

Summery fun and games with feeling. (family tree) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72821-029-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021