Suitable for fans of nonmainstream romances with larger-than-life characters.

READ REVIEW

THE HANDSOME GIRL & HER BEAUTIFUL BOY

Two teens—one girl, one boy—defy gender norms to discover their own brand of love.

When they meet, laid-back Zee and self-professed “biggest personality on the planet” Art are both sure they’re straight despite others’ assumptions that they’re gay because of how they present themselves. It’s infatuation at first sight for Art, who is certain that fellow “mythical creature” Zee will fall for him. Amid tumultuous family circumstances—Zee meets her estranged father after her mother dies of cancer, while Art’s parents’ marriage falls apart—the duo explores their confusing attraction to each other and what it means for their senses of self. This exploration includes sex (masturbation, blow jobs, nights in a motel room, and relationship drama involving other characters). The book’s strength lies in its first-person narration, which alternates between Zee and Art in uber-short chapters full of all-caps, exclamation points, and explanatory pie charts. The ultimate affirmation that love needs no labels or boundaries comes far too late for a story about sexual fluidity; throughout most of the book, Zee and Art subscribe to strongly binary views of gender, sexuality, and gender expression. Art and all other primary characters are presumably white. Zee, jarringly for the daughter of an Iranian father and a very light-skinned white mother, is described as having a very dark complexion.

Suitable for fans of nonmainstream romances with larger-than-life characters. (Fiction. 16-18)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62779-852-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more