A satisfyingly amusing read.

CHARMING AS A VERB

A charismatic 17-year-old boy used to hustling his way through life meets his match.

Henri Haltiwanger, who is Haitian American, has a face for everyone—the wealthy owners of the dogs he walks under his guise of a business, the rich kids he attends Fine Arts Technical Education Academy with on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and anyone else who can help further his dream of attending Columbia University. He takes pride in his charm until Corinne—classmate and neighbor—blackmails him into helping her fix her reputation for being excessively intense and lacking in social graces. This is the last thing he needs after the disappointment of a lackluster Columbia interview, but Henri agrees, knowing their friendship can be mutually beneficial. As the pair grows closer, he realizes that he could fall for Corinne. Under the enormous pressure that befalls many first-generation Americans, Henri will do whatever it takes for a dream he is beginning to question, leading him to take a risk that just may cost him everything. This humorous, first-person narrative with a conversational, almost conspiratorial, tone will captivate readers even with the almost-too-neat ending. The author breathes life into each character, giving those in Henri’s circle depth and investing readers in their stories. The novel demonstrates the pressure many face to be accepted into their dream colleges and thrive after high school. Corinne is black.

A satisfyingly amusing read. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-282414-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more