A brilliant romance that forces its protagonists to explore and accept themselves as they discover one another

Complicated romance blooms between the perfect student and a sensitive burnout.

Waverly Camdenmar works diligently to perfect the face she presents to the world: she’s white, a good student, popular, and a cross-country runner who’d do anything to win. But there’s another Waverly, the one who can’t sleep. Meanwhile, in another social stratosphere, Marshall Holt, also white, toils at the center of a broken family, choosing to get wasted rather than face the world, let alone his feelings. While Waverly’s emotions feel unreachable even to herself, Marshall’s are always too close to the surface for comfort. One night, Waverly lights a candle and counts backward, finally finding sleep only to discover she’s ended up in the path of Marshall’s actual, intoxicated evening. Only he can see her, but she’s corporeal as anyone to him, and it keeps happening. The two meet in dreams and reveal more of themselves than either dares show anyone else but resume their closed-off identities in the daylight; they may as well be strangers at school. But such a dream relationship can only exist so long before being brought to light. Alternating narration in the first person, Waverly and Marshall burn brightly in their individual, secret pain—both refreshingly flawed as they come into their own. Readers will forgo sleep themselves to witness their vibrant, achingly real story unfold.

A brilliant romance that forces its protagonists to explore and accept themselves as they discover one another . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-52263-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016


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


A searing romance.

Two girls wounded by their past relationships grapple with the undeniable intensity of their feelings for one another in this novel based on the pop-star author’s popular song and music video.

Seventeen-year-old Coley, who is White and Japanese, braces for impact as a minivan hurtles toward her in a parking lot. The crash never comes, but in that moment, she and fierce Sonya, beautiful with her tan skin and dark hair and eyes, collide. Horrible circumstances brought Coley to small-town Oregon; after her mom’s suicide, she’s raw with grief and stuck living with the dad who abandoned her when she was 3. Wealthy, competitive dancer Sonya feels no less trapped. Afraid of rejection and loneliness, she buries her true self to appease her perfectionist mother and the demanding ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go. Unspoken attraction pulls Coley and Sonya together, but the masks they wear to protect themselves from their pain create a barrier that may keep them apart. Set in the summer of 2006, the novel alternates Sonya’s public and private LiveJournal posts that reveal her side of the story with Coley’s first-person narration. Sharp, poetic prose heightens the emotional and romantic drama. References to early 2000s pop and alternative music in Sonya’s posts create a playlist that sheds more light on her feelings. Coley demonstrates satisfying character growth as she opens up to herself and others. Apart from Coley, most characters are presumed White.

A searing romance. (content note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781250817631

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023