The author of the well-received A Bellsong for Sarah Raines (1987) creates another believable heroine coming to terms with her parents' strengths and imperfections. Lake Gillespie, 16, has grown up in a series of communes. Ty, her father, a born leader and organizer, has paved the way with his small inherited income; mother Selene, a gifted singer and weaver, is also an indispensable earth-mother type. But a competent, charismatic new member of the commune, Sun Dog, is a catalyst for many changes: he instigates a joyful house-painting (the painters fling paint and then their clothes) that antagonizes the locals; later, caught out as a thief, he viciously vandalizes the communal home. Meanwhile, mother Selene leaves to try a career in Nashville; Lake, fighting the separation anxiety that has followed her since a long-ago ceremony when her parents seemed to be giving her away, goes to Selene's mother seeking a senior year that will get her into college. As she tries to take charge of her future and make sense of her disparate past, Lake is believably intelligent and levelheaded, reluctantly turning down the fascinating Sun Dog, trying to make peace between Grandmother and Selene, realizing that she can model herself on the best of each. Along the way, the picture of a commune, its function a complex blend of its members' exercise and abrogation of their individuality, is vivid, well-reasoned, and often amusing. A memorable, thought- provoking coming-of-age novel. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 30, 1991

ISBN: 0-684-19292-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1991

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Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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