Fresh, endearing, and heartfelt.

A spring break visit leads to surprising revelations for people-pleasing Imogen Scott, a passionate straight ally.

It’s spring break of her senior year, and Imogen is about to stay with Lili Cardoso, her childhood best friend, at the college Imogen herself will be attending in the fall. She’s afraid that Lili, with a circle of new queer friends, may have moved on from their friendship. On top of that, as a long-standing and respectful member of her high school’s Pride Alliance, Imogen tries to do everything in her power to avoid inappropriately invading queer spaces. So, she is not sure if there will be room for her in Lili’s life now. Adding to her concerns, Lili, newly out as pansexual, admits that, in a spontaneous attempt to seem more experienced, she told everyone at college that she and Imogen are amicable exes. This fabricated history contains the additional lie that Imogen is bisexual—but when Imogen starts to feel a spark between her and kind and charismatic Tessa, and years of hidden feelings come crashing into view, she is forced to reckon with the possibility that it might not be so far from the truth. The friendships and relationship dynamics are believable and heartfelt. Imogen’s journey feels authentic and sincere, and readers will find it difficult not to fall for her. Imogen is coded White; Lili is Brazilian American, and Tessa is Jewish.

Fresh, endearing, and heartfelt. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063045873

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


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

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