Readers will be swept up in Kiely’s musical prose as Teddy learns about love, romance, forgiveness, and reconciliation

THE LAST TRUE LOVE STORY

Teddy, 17, makes a promise to his Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather, Gpa, to bring him home from assisted living before he forgets Teddy’s deceased grandmother.

An evening on the beach listening to his talented friend Corrina, adopted from Guatemala, sing and play guitar gives Teddy a rash idea for the three of them (and Gpa’s aptly named dog, Old Humper) to drive from LA to Ithaca, New York. Although Teddy is the one telling the story, the three main characters and their individual needs for the road trip are equally well fleshed out. Corrina needs to get away from her adoptive parents and try to break into the music scene. She shares a love of ’60s rock with Gpa, creating a bond that helps keep his memories alive. Gpa, a Vietnam vet who has demons of his own to put to rest, is trying to hold onto his faculties against overwhelming odds. Teddy’s voice is humorous and sincere. He flirts with Corrina and remains optimistic that things will work out despite the obstacles they encounter. At a Mexican-themed restaurant, Teddy realizes how ignorant he is of the everyday racism that Corrina encounters: “It was like my whiteness just put pirate patches over my eyes and I was blind to all the pain.”

Readers will be swept up in Kiely’s musical prose as Teddy learns about love, romance, forgiveness, and reconciliation . (Fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2988-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes.

SIX CRIMSON CRANES

From the Six Crimson Cranes series , Vol. 1

Girl meets magic. Hijinks ensue.

Shiori’anma, Princess of Kiata and eldest daughter of Emperor Hanariho, is the intrepid protagonist in this folktale retelling. About to turn 17 and be married off to a third-rank barbarian lord, Shiori desperately looks for ways out of the engagement. Her emerging talents in forbidden magic and a run-in with a young shape-shifting dragon help to pass the time before she is doomed to relocate to the cold North. Things take an even worse turn, however, when she uncovers her stepmother’s secrets. As a consequence, her six brothers are cursed into assuming the form of cranes by day. Shiori is whisked away and coerced into silence, for every word that escapes her lips will mean the death of one of her brothers. She must learn to survive on her own and use her wits and hard-won experience to save both her family and country. Readers here revisit the East Asian–inspired world established in Lim’s The Blood of Stars duology. Despite a few hiccups in the logic of the magic, the author cleverly maintains the basic structure of this well-known European folktale type while weaving in rich elements of Asian mythology, including dragon pearls and the goddess of the moon. The exploration of complicated family dynamics is a particular strength, especially the challenging of the evil stepmother cliché.

Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30091-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

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