Readers who relish self-indulgent inner monologue and expect dramatic arguments, seething resentment, tearful heartbreak,...

(ME, HIM, THEM, AND IT)

A “good girl” experiences an unplanned pregnancy and its aftermath.

Evelyn is a classic good girl, earning top grades and excelling in the art studio as well as on the track. When her parents start paying more attention to their acrimoniously crumbling marriage than to their daughter, she punishes them by becoming drinking, drugging, sex-having Bad Evelyn. Unfortunately, Bad Evelyn’s exploits become a punishment for her, too, as her protection-free sex with Todd leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Evelyn’s situation is the stuff of classic YA problem novels: What will she do about her pregnancy? How will she live with her choices? Will her heart, in fact, go on? Fearing expulsion from her competitive and deeply conservative Catholic high school, Evelyn relocates to Chicago to live with her aunts Linda and Nora and their daughters while she makes her choices and protects her GPA. Evelyn is a tough nut to crack, and she’s not particularly likable, but through all her self-contradictory crabbiness and emotionally withholding fears, readers may see someone recognizably real. First-time author Carter drags her narrative out, making readers angst along with Evelyn as she chronicles every week of her pregnancy and beyond.

Readers who relish self-indulgent inner monologue and expect dramatic arguments, seething resentment, tearful heartbreak, unspoken anxieties, unexpected friendships and ultimately, graceful reconciliation, will not be disappointed. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59990-958-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

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An earnest but belabored story of love and cognitive disability.

ROSIE LOVES JACK

A teen with Down syndrome runs away to find her boyfriend when her parents forbid their relationship.

Sixteen-year-old Rose Tremayne and her boyfriend, Jack, were made for each other. Jack, who was born with a brain injury, helps Rosie with reading and writing; Rosie calms his anger issues. But after a violent outburst, Jack is sent away—and Rosie’s parents think she should forget him. Rosie resolves to find Jack herself, taking the train to London alone and venturing into the city’s labyrinthine subway system. As she copes with transportation setbacks, she encounters assorted strangers—some kind and some with unsavory intentions. Though secondary characters lack depth, Rosie’s narration sympathetically expresses her determination, frustration, and naïveté in equal measure, and others’ patronizing and rude reactions to her disability are sadly realistic. However, much of the plot feels contrived. Despite Darbon’s efforts to show that Rosie is more than her Down syndrome, she doesn’t escape being a symbol of childlike innocence, a problematic trope. While a twist darkly demonstrates how people with intellectual disabilities can be targets of abuse, its execution is somewhat implausible. Portrayed primarily through Jack’s misspelled postcards and florid prose such as “The sun came out in my head and my heart grew wings and took me up to the moon,” the romance never quite feels three-dimensional; the ending, though touching, is rather pat. Most characters default to White.

An earnest but belabored story of love and cognitive disability. (author's note) (Romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-289-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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