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NO SUCH PERSON

Haunting, harrowing, and hard to put down.

Slowly and methodically, the tale unfolds of how two sisters spending the summer at their family cottage on the shore of the Connecticut River find themselves at the center of a murder investigation.

Fifteen-year-old Miranda has always walked in the shadow of her older sister, rising med student Lander, yet it is Miranda who shines here, as she alone musters the courage and determination to do what it takes to save her family. Interestingly, the story is told from two perspectives, both those of close third-person narrators. This clever technique allows just enough distance between story and readers to maintain the gauzy, unsettling haze that keeps the truth just out of sight. Unfortunately, the cast of characters feels slightly unbalanced, particularly when it comes to Miranda’s parents and other secondary characters, who are surprisingly underdeveloped given their ultimate roles. If readers can suspend disbelief just long enough to believe that a young teen like Miranda would be left on her own under such dangerous circumstances, they won’t regret going along for the ride. No one writes suspense like Cooney, and this novel will ensnare readers from Page 1 and keep them turning the pages until they, like the nameless young woman at the center of the opening chapter, know for certain who is dead and who is the killer.

Haunting, harrowing, and hard to put down. (Mystery. 13 & up)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-74291-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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