Clark continues Courtney’s saga (Truth or Dairy, 2000) as she endures her “freshperson” fall semester at Cornwall Falls College, Wisconsin. Diary format lets readers revel in the teen-speak of her “tragic” circumstances: charmed away from her native Colorado by a generous financial-aid package, Courtney is a vegan trapped 1,000 miles from the nearest fruit smoothie. Nobody understands the torment of being in a long-distance relationship with perfect boyfriend Grant. As if anybody could understand the spirit-crushing experience of working for minimum wage at the fast-food chain, The Bagle Finagle. That Courtney is self-involved would be an understatement, but the light-hearted tone and the recognizable archetypes are just humorous enough to keep the pages turning. Clark has a gifted ear for language and an eye for the details of current teenage trends. Late-adolescent behavior is wickedly revealed as Courtney begins to get involved with school activities such as the Campus Badicals who are protesting the initials of the school. As the semester progresses, she begins to discover that first impressions are not always the most reliable way to choose friends—especially when her kindred spirit soulmate turns out to be someone completely different and her bovine-loving roommate ditches her boyfriend to save Courtney from spending Thanksgiving alone in the dorm. A hoot. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-029525-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet