Kate, who owns underpants printed with “I heart Science,” desperately wants to become a doctor, and she’s the student...

BAD TASTE IN BOYS

A geeky girl gets the guy in this comic romp through a high school infested with zombies.

Kate, who owns underpants printed with “I heart Science,” desperately wants to become a doctor, and she’s the student medical assistant for her school’s perpetually losing football team. She develops dark suspicions when she sees unmarked drug vials in the coach’s office, especially when Coach injects the players with his mystery medication. In short order, Mike, one of the players, apparently dies but lurches to life again and bites a chunk out of Kate’s lip. Harris draws on a wealth of zombie clichés as Kate watches the infection spread rapidly. Worse, the now-zombie coach attacks her even after his foot falls off, and her annoying but loyal little brother shows unmistakable zombie symptoms. But why hasn’t Kate succumbed? Can she find a cure? Meanwhile, Aaron, her secret heartthrob, confesses his love because of her brains (although Mike would like to eat Kate’s brains). But can the mad science teacher derail Kate’s medical-school dreams? And can Kate get the local health department to listen? Throughout, the author keeps the focus on laughs as Kate speeds through car crashes, tries to keep her dog from eating the coach’s foot and chases zombies as she wields syringes like six-shooters.

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-385-73968-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume.

THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 2

Evangeline faces new dangers in her quest for happiness in this follow-up to 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart.

As Evangeline Fox seeks a cure for her poisoned husband, Prince Apollo, the enticing and infuriating Fate Jacks reappears, offering to save Apollo if she unlocks the Valory Arch. Remembering the long list of ills brought upon her by the Fate, Evangeline refuses. When the new heir arrives and Apollo wakes with a new curse and glowing red eyes, she is forced to delve into the mysteries of the Valors and find the arch’s four missing magical stones whose powers are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. The inclusion of expanded Valor lore alongside the preexisting blend of fairy-tale and paranormal creatures is intriguing and fits the overarching theme of storytelling as history. The ongoing use of emotions as a scale for displaying and determining one’s humanity, especially by Fates, is equally interesting. Unfortunately, the impact of Evangeline’s often amusing narration and numerous surprising plot twists is diluted by the meandering pacing, convoluted sensory descriptions, and close focus on Evangeline’s fluctuating attraction toward her potential love interests. Despite the positive emphasis on hope and happily-ever-afters, Evangeline’s romantic relationship with Jacks borders on manipulative and toxic. Evangeline reads White; side characters are fantasy diverse.

A disappointing delivery on a potentially gripping second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-26842-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an...

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER

Can teenage love ever be forever?

Isabel (Belly) from The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009) and It’s Not Summer Without You (2010) finishes up her freshman year at college somewhat unconvincingly committed to Jeremiah Fisher, one of the two brothers with whom she has spent summers since she was small. Isabel becomes furious to learn that Jeremiah had sex with another girl from their college in Cabo on spring break, but he wins back her affections with a grand gesture: a proposal of marriage. Caught up in the idea—she will plan a summer wedding! they will attend college as a married couple!—Isabel tries ignores her misgivings about Jeremiah, the appalled silence of her mother and her own still-strong feelings for Jeremiah’s older brother, Conrad. It’s both funny and believable when Jeremiah insists he wants to dance the wedding dance to “You Never Can Tell” from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Han gives a satisfying nod to wedding-planning fantasies even while revealing their flimsy basis for an actual marriage. A final chapter in 23-year-old Isabel’s voice reveals the not-so-surprising happy ending.

Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an appealing conclusion to this trilogy romance among bright middle-class young people. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9558-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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