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A WORLD WITHOUT YOU

A page-turning psychological thriller in which mental illness is tragic.

In a special school on a small Massachusetts island, a boy struggles to find his place in time.

Bo attends the Berkshire Academy for Children with Exceptional Needs. Narrating in the present tense, he explains the school’s mission: training kids to master their supernatural powers and to hide them from the broader world. But something horrendous has happened: Bo, who time travels, took his girlfriend, Sofía, back to 1692 and accidentally left her there. As a brown-skinned Latina (Bo’s white, which goes unspecified) who turns invisible, Sofía could face execution in the Puritan colony, which is enduring the Salem witch trials. Bo works doggedly to travel back in time and save her, but the timestream fights him, and someone may be controlling his mind. A trickle of textual clues and several first-person chapters from Bo’s sister, Phoebe, reveal that delusions, dissociation, and psychosis are at work. Bo has severe mental illness, as do his classmates. His palpable torment, confusion, and belief in his powers build to a terrifying crescendo in a vivid conflagration scene. Bo sees a choice: the 21st century, where he’s sick, or somewhere outside time with Sofía, where he has powers. At the end, the text steals Bo’s voice and centrality by giving the closing narration to Phoebe—flipping Bo’s story, suddenly and frustratingly, into a disabled-sibling tale.

A page-turning psychological thriller in which mental illness is tragic. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59514-715-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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