A thoughtful, heart-rending story of doomed first love.

In a world nearly identical to our own, two teens struggle with tragedy.

Flint’s existence has unfolded under the shadow of a phenomenon in which people experience a twinge, or medical event, at the halfway point of their lives, revealing the exact date when they will die. Flint and his family have returned to his childhood home of Carbon Junction, where he half-lifed when he was in third grade. When the book opens, his death date is just 41 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes away. Flint is reacting angrily to his heartbroken parents’ attempts to help, barely eating, and refusing basic comforts like warm clothing. Carbon Junction is also home to the Half-Life Institute, where the phenomenon is researched. September, a brilliant young woman who interns there, is grieving the death of her 4-year-old sister. At its heart a romance, this alternating narrative juxtaposition of a melancholy but beautiful boy clad in all black and a vibrant girl who only wears bright colors is a familiar opposites-attract setup. The tension between the two is drawn out at length, which should please fans of the genre. The science-fiction elements are less developed but still create a compelling premise that guides the plot and gives ample motivation to the sympathetic characters for the complicated decisions they must make. The main characters are cued White; there are some queer and racially and ethnically diverse secondary characters.

A thoughtful, heart-rending story of doomed first love. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781338712667

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023


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


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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