A fresh take on gentrification and the impact it has on both individuals and community.

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY

A college freshman reunites with an old crush and battles family obligations.

Torrence McKenzie is poor, black, and gay, and he has not had it easy; his father abandoned him as a baby, his mom is in a medically induced coma, the uncle who raised him was shot by police, and with no other family available, he has been living with his homophobic grandad. Torrey hopes San Francisco State University will be a fresh start—a true escape miles away from Baldwin Hills. But Torrey is barely moved into his dorm when his aunt calls to tell him that the beloved apiary his uncle left him is being seized by the city due to a failure to pay taxes. With developers pressuring him to abandon the bee farm and the deadline to drop classes looming, Torrey has to decide—this new beginning for himself or his uncle’s dream. The author breaks the fourth wall with quippy asides and shade as Torrey struggles to figure out what to do; sometimes it works and other times it’s distracting and feels more suited to formats such as social media or TV. At times the sequence of past events is confusing, but a diverse cast of supporting characters, including a biracial (black and Brazilian) love interest, is a strength of the book.

A fresh take on gentrification and the impact it has on both individuals and community. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-799-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for...

A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT

From the Court of Thorns and Roses series , Vol. 4

A glimpse of the characters dealing with rebuilding and fallout after A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017).

In a change of pace from the usual epic struggle against powerful forces, this slimmer-than-usual volume follows the cast during the festive Winter Solstice holiday. Nods to trouble on the horizon (dissent in the Illyrian ranks, Fae courts eyeing for expansion, and a politically fraught situation among humans) remain distant, the lack of progress at times resulting in frustrating repetition. Cassian’s and Mor’s backstories are explored, and prickly Amren’s low-key relationship storyline is supplemented by her High Fae adjustments (including bodily humor). While Elain is becoming more comfortable, she still wants nothing to do with Lucien (who feels like an outsider nearly everywhere and has his hands full with a self-destructive Tamlin). Severely struggling Nesta self-medicates through alcohol, meaningless sex, pushing everyone away, and finding every last seedy corner of the otherwise utopian Velaris. While Rhys handles politics, Feyre’s storyline revolves around Solstice shopping and art’s potential for healing trauma—when the lovers aren’t telepathically sexting or craving each other. Aside from occasional minor characters, most of the inhuman cast seem white. Several plotlines are predictably resolved.

With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for readers who’d prefer downtime with the characters over high stakes. (map, preview of next title) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-631-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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