A thrilling, adventure-filled story that captures the anguish of losing a friend.

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WHEN THE LIGHT WENT OUT

California teens reunite to chase the memory of a dead friend.

Five years ago, when Nick Cline was only 11-years-old, he accidentally shot and killed 15-year-old Marley Bricket. Olivia Stanton idolized Marley, who was her older sister’s best friend and the leader of their group. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olivia is even more consumed with thoughts about Marley, carrying her memory everywhere she goes. And after all these years it seems Nick—who has returned to town—feels the same way. The two soon uncover clues Marley has left for them to follow, and they gather the kids of Albany Lane to search for answers, closure, and perhaps even redemption. Olivia is an unreliable narrator and a manipulative individual who appears motivated by a desire to gain the power which Marley once lorded over her friends. Readers will enjoy the romance, dark humor, and bicycle-squad nostalgia as they move through an eerie and dangerous scavenger hunt. The uncertainty and suspense lead to questions of whether what’s unfolding is a ghost story or an elaborate suicide. The well-paced story offers an authentic exploration of grief, but the elaborate deceptions detract from readers’ ability to connect to that experience. Olivia, Nick, and Marley are white; there is diversity in secondary characters who are Latinx, Korean-American, black, and lesbian.

A thrilling, adventure-filled story that captures the anguish of losing a friend. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7098-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of...

I HAVE NO SECRETS

A nonverbal teen becomes the “real-life password” to solving a terrible crime in this British import.

Sixteen-year-old Jemma has “no secrets of [her] own.” Quadriplegic due to cerebral palsy, she can’t move or speak and depends on her foster parents and her aide, Sarah, for everything from eating to using the bathroom. But people often share their secrets with her. After all, Jemma can never tell—even when Sarah’s sleazy boyfriend, Dan, hints at his involvement in a recent murder just before Sarah goes missing. But when innovative technology offers Jemma a chance to communicate, can she expose Dan’s secret before he silences her? Despite its suspenseful premise, the plot pales against Joelson’s (Girl in the Window, 2018) intimate, unflinching exploration of Jemma’s character; the book’s most powerful tension lies in Jemma’s simple, direct narration of her unrecognized, uncomfortably realistic frustrations and fears, such as patronizing adults who “don’t realize that [she has] a functioning brain” and her worry that her overwhelmed parents will stop fostering. Refreshingly, the author’s detailed depiction of augmentative and alternative communication explores both the joy of self-expression and the physical and mental effort it requires. Jemma’s bond with her chaotic but supportive foster family grounds the story, particularly her touching rapport with her younger foster brother, Finn, who’s autistic and also nonverbal. Most characters appear white.

Quietly suspenseful, vividly character-driven, and poignant, with insights into cerebral palsy and the multiple meanings of “family.” (Suspense. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9336-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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