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


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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An ambitious failure.


Three best friends spend the night before graduation in a run-down movie house.

Bertucci, Olivia, and Codman have been best friends all through high school, and on the eve of their graduation, the trio agrees to spend their final hours as high school students locked in the recently boarded-up Circle Cinema. In these few hours, truths are revealed, hearts are torn open, and futures are decided upon. These ambitions ultimately sink the novel. The enterprise is burdened with overthought dialogue, clumsy metaphors, and what comes across as a desperate desire to be seen as adult. The novel switches narrative perspective from teen to teen at the beginning of every chapter, but the device is unsuccessful: these characters all sound and think the same. These attributes almost make the book work as thematic commentary on the nature of teenage friendship, but unfortunately it doesn’t go much beyond the obvious observation that teens tend to think like their friends and are desperate to escape childhood. Throw in a half-baked love triangle and an apparent attempt to ape John Green and David Levithan's "Schrodinger's cat" metaphor from Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2010)—a metaphor that even that book barely pulled off—and you have a book that has all the hallmarks of a smart, sensitive book for teens but without the necessary nuance or emotional excitement.

An ambitious failure. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7489-5

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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Although it aims to liberate, this is just another weight-loss arc accidentally portraying fatness as tragic and optional.


A teen reaps economic, professional, and social benefits from losing weight.

Cookie Vonn—white and blonde like her supermodel mother—has absentee parents, a zeal for fashion, a hardcore work ethic, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: interviewing a world-famous New York designer for her blog internship. But the airline declares Cookie “too fat to fly.” So, age 17 and 330 pounds, Cookie joins the NutriNation diet plan. A plot thread labeled “fat” follows her that year, while the interspersed “skinny” thread follows her at age 19, after losing 199 pounds. Despite showing two parts of the same person’s life—not alternate universes—it reads like alternate universes. Cookie’s first-person voice is zesty, funny, bitter, and bewitching in both, but they vary starkly in plausibility. Fat Cookie faces realistic discrimination and cruelty, while skinny Cookie stumbles into fantasy-level boons: designing her own fashion line, an all-expenses-paid wealthy lifestyle, corporate sponsorship, and passionate sex in an Argentine gondola. Although skinny Cookie still can’t find joy, her bounty of material gains profoundly undermines the text’s attempted message that weight loss is no golden ticket. Skinny Cookie eventually—supposedly—reaches self-acceptance, moderating the diet that left her constantly hungry—but how much import can a literary fat-acceptance message carry when spoken by a still-skinny character? The book assumes a white default.

Although it aims to liberate, this is just another weight-loss arc accidentally portraying fatness as tragic and optional. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-373-21253-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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