Rider (Kiss Me in New York, 2017) does it again—another quick and merry read for rom-com lovers.

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KISS ME IN PARIS

Two bickering young people roam the City of Love together.

Serena Fuentes, a Latinx Columbia student, did not come to Paris to find love. But the family becomes a solo expedition after her mother has to attend a conference in London and her older sister, Lara, working as an au pair in Paris, ditches her to go to Madrid with her new boyfriend. Serena had everything mapped out—she and her sister were going to visit and photograph all the places their parents went during their honeymoon to create a scrapbook of memories for their 25th anniversary. Instead she ends up touring the city with Jean-Luc, a half-French, half-American friend of Lara’s boyfriend and a currently uninspired photography student. Believing that this loud American girl is his best shot at saving his school project, Jean-Luc follows Serena around, trying to convince her to abandon her itinerary and see his idea of a more authentic Paris—much to her annoyance. There is an undeniable sweetness to this story’s predictability and unoriginality. Serena and Jean-Luc are verbally sparring one minute, then bonding over familial challenges the next. Comedic hijinks are balanced with moments of emotional struggle and realization, keeping this story lighthearted and assuring readers that their perfect match might be found in unexpected places.

Rider (Kiss Me in New York, 2017) does it again—another quick and merry read for rom-com lovers. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-867-2

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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