A thoughtful and delicious romance.

THE ART OF FRENCH KISSING

Carter Lane is one step closer to her dream of attending the nation’s top culinary school when she is accepted into its prestigious summer scholarship competition, but arrogant and handsome Reid Yamada isn’t going to make winning easy.

In fact, he is deliberately sabotaging Carter’s dishes—but two can play at that game. Carter, who is Irish-American, and Reid, who is biracial (Japanese/white), have their sights trained on one another as competitors begin to be eliminated. But an obsession that starts out as revenge soon turns romantic when the two are paired up and must work together to win it all. Despite the clichéd premise and the implausibility of sending eliminated teens to the airport at all hours to wait for standby flights home, this meet-cute romance stands out thanks to the nuanced characters and subtle treatment of bigger issues such as race, gender, and money (Carter’s family flirts with poverty). Carter’s insecurities about her culinary skill will resonate with any girl who has aspirations in a field dominated by males, and a sensitive sex scene models for readers what a consensual relationship looks like. A full cast of diverse characters, including Indian-American competitors, Carter’s lesbian best friend, and Reid himself, who identifies as queer, are portrayed three-dimensionally, but Shrum’s (How to Make Out, 2016, etc.) greatest accomplishment may be the intricate and mouthwatering descriptions of each dish.

A thoughtful and delicious romance. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-3205-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more