Told in diary format, this lightweight, faintly amusing slice-of-life novel chronicles the ups and downs of a confused, lovelorn high-school senior. After being dumped by her off-to-college boyfriend, who is looking to begin campus life “free and clear” of emotional entanglements, Courtney is so upset that she decides to spare herself future heartbreak by swearing off boys for the rest of the year. To take up the slack, she decides to concentrate on her academic career, getting involved with student government while continuing to work at the Truth or Dairy, an ice-cream-cum-health-food snack shop. But the course of true non-involvement does not run smoothly either, and complications on the work, home, and student government fronts soon ensue. Moreover, it's clear that fellow student Grant is romantically interested, and eventually, Courtney must decide if the involvement is worth the risk. While Clark deserves kudos for her delivery of a pitch-perfect, self-absorbed teenage voice, her protagonist has little emotional range, and the wafer-thin secondary characters that surround her similarly lack depth. Wearisome in spots and straining for laughs, this novel's main strength is its hip, airy tone and accessible subject matter. (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-380-81443-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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The mystery is tense and nerve-wracking, and the acrobatics are gorgeously hair-raising; they will help readers get past...


Family secrets and sinister superstitions threaten 16-year-old wire walker Jules Maroni’s chance at a big break.

Jules doesn’t understand why her family lets some old rivalry with the Flying Garcias keep them from the glamorous Cirque American. Something bad happened between Jules’ grandmother and the legendary trapeze artists when Nan was young, but now the Amazing Maronis have a chance—possibly the last—to leave obscurity and gain the recognition their talent deserves! When the Maronis finally join the Cirque American, Jules is dismayed that everyone in this new circus seems to hold the same grudge as Nan. Worse, the dreamy boy she meets is none other than Remy Garcia, scion of her family’s archrivals. Jules is determined to gain the admiration of her fellow performers, so she performs a series of increasingly dangerous wire acts. While Jules’ perspective of her daredevilry is not in the slightest bit frightening, the narration is nonetheless heart-stopping; readers might find themselves checking their own footing. A mysterious stalker leaves Jules a series of increasingly disturbing artifacts—a flower, a peacock feather, a circus trunk—and Nan is convinced the objects are cursed, leaving Jules and Remy determined to get to the bottom of their grandparents’ possibly mystical rivalry. When tragedy inevitably strikes, the impact is blunted, as the secondary characters (or Jules’ feelings for them) are little more than the barest sketches.

The mystery is tense and nerve-wracking, and the acrobatics are gorgeously hair-raising; they will help readers get past thinly developed characters and setting . (Thriller. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4782-4

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Skyscape

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Mystery lovers will be pleased to have this whodunit, which is neither Victoriana nor steampunk


The brilliant daughter of Detective Sgt. Moriarty meets posh Sherlock Holmes, so obviously there will be murders.

Mori's got her hands full putting up with idiots at school, grieving her six-months-dead mum, and protecting her three younger brothers from their alcoholic and abusive father. Not so long ago, her family was happy: her dad spent time being manly with the boys, while Mori learned about martial arts and sleight of hand from her mother. With all that over, Mori has no intention of becoming friends with arrogant classmate Sherlock. Despite her best efforts to stay away from him, though, Mori fails. Both his intelligence and his affection for her are deeply compelling, and that's not to mention how interesting it is to be solving a murder with one of the few clever people she knows. When the crime they're investigating starts hitting too close to home—reminding Mori of her beloved mother's many secrets—she no longer wants Sherlock to be a part of her investigation. The story is set in present-day London and narrated affectingly by Mori. The conclusion leaves space for the fated collapse of the Holmes/Moriarty relationship in later series entries, putting a nice potential twist on the good girl–bad boy trend.

Mystery lovers will be pleased to have this whodunit, which is neither Victoriana nor steampunk . (Mystery. 13-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2303-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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