This joyful romance is both sweet and substantial.

READ REVIEW

WHAT IF IT'S US

Fan-favorites Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Silvera (They Both Die at the End, 2017, etc.) join forces in this tale of a New York City summer romance.

When Ben and Arthur cross paths at a post office but fail to exchange contact information, they both regret the missed connection. Through mutual efforts and a healthy dose of coincidence, the boys find each other again. A rocky series of do-over first dates proves that they are different in many ways—Arthur is a white, Jewish, show tune–loving, Southern boy with ADHD who has never been kissed and dreams of attending Yale. Ben, on the other hand, is a Puerto Rican, Catholic, native New Yorker recovering from a recent breakup who is self-conscious about attending summer school and writes a novel in his spare time. However, the boys have one important thing in common—they’re both willing to believe in the universe’s bringing them together. Their alternating narration, chock-full of witty banter and pop-culture references, also delves into themes of identity and the complexities of relationships, both romantic and platonic. In particular, Arthur’s jealousy over Ben’s ex-boyfriend raises discussions of whether past relationships should be regretted or embraced. Central to the narrative are Arthur’s and Ben’s friends, who are diverse and richly drawn, and the boys’ parents, who encourage their relationship.

This joyful romance is both sweet and substantial. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279525-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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