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THE RECKLESS KIND

A tender tale of queer love, disability, and self-discovery.

Three young Scandinavians seek ways to live nontraditionally.

Set in a small village in an unspecified Nordic country in 1904, this story is narrated by 18-year-olds Asta and Erlend. Asta is engaged to be married but is not sure she wants to marry her intended—or anyone at all. Half French Erlend is a promising young actor willing to give it all up (a romantic move but perhaps not the best life lesson) to be with handsome outcast Gunnar. The plot is engaging, but the real magic lies in the characters and their relationships. Each has a condition that they struggle with to varying degrees: asexual Asta has Waardenburg syndrome; Gunnar has a partial arm amputation, a spinal injury, and depression; Erlend has anxiety and ulcers. (Heath is careful to avoid anachronism by eschewing labels or diagnoses that would not have been available to individuals at the time.) Their disabilities have a material impact on their lives—and on the story—but, crucially, don’t define them. The author explores their experiences with care and reminds readers that no one is “perfect”; the line between able and disabled is socially constructed and movable. Although the characters face discrimination for their queerness, they also find love and support that are uplifting without being excessively idealistic. Perrin’s Norwegian rosemaling-style art enhances the opening page of each chapter.

A tender tale of queer love, disability, and self-discovery. (historical and medical notes) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-641-29281-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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