Come for the rivalry, stay for the romance.

I KISSED ALICE

Two art students collaborate anonymously on a queer fan comic while clashing in real life over a prestigious scholarship.

To high school senior Iliana Vrionides, the Capstone Foundation Award represents opportunities that her affluent and well-connected peers at the Alabama Conservatory of the Arts and Technology take for granted. Iliana’s determination to win the award is intensified by her desire to beat her classmate and nemesis Rhodes Ingram who, in Iliana’s eyes, exemplifies the highbrow snobbery that art competition juries favor. Iliana often vents her frustration to I-Kissed-Alice, a friend she met on fandom database Slash/Spot and with whom Iliana co-authors “Hearts and Spades,” an Alice in Wonderland fan comic. Little does she know that I-Kissed-Alice is actually Rhodes, whose struggle with depression and familial pressure to succeed has rendered her unable to create artwork for school. As the deadline for the Capstone project proposal draws near, the animosity between Iliana and Rhodes comes to a peak even as they make plans online to meet in person. With a premise based on the "secret identity" trope, this novel could have fallen into cliché. Instead, it digs into the messiness of relationships colored by personal bias and misunderstanding. The protagonists are alive with emotions and flaws, and their chemistry as both enemies and allies crackles off the pages. Iliana is white, bisexual, and fat; Rhodes is white and queer.

Come for the rivalry, stay for the romance. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21985-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

more