A quietly satisfying read.

THE SUMMER OF LOST THINGS

From the Love, Lucas series

Following her father’s imprisonment and her maternal grandmother’s death, Lucy and her mother, Ana, leave Wyoming and move into her mother’s childhood home in Salem, Oregon.

Named after her mother’s favorite author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Lucy picks up Ana’s old copy of Anne of Green Gables and finds a list of summer plans from her mother’s teen years; it sparks her curiosity and inspires a list of her own. There is considerable tension between Lucy and her mother as they work on fixing up the house and settling into the community. Lucy misses her old friends and dreads being the new girl at school, but after meeting cousins Mira and Jack, it looks like the summer won’t be too boring. However, Lucy’s despair and frustration over her father’s past behavior cause her to lie about him to her new friends, nearly derailing their budding friendship and her growing connection with Jack. Lucy is a sympathetic protagonist even when she makes the wrong choices. As she learns more about her mother’s teen years, she gains a deeper understanding of her, which is revealed in a realistic way. The immediate secondary characters are also intriguing. Most characters are assumed white, although Ana's father was Puerto Rican and Mira is described as having dark brown skin. Each chapter begins with a pithy quote from a classic novel, in keeping with Lucy’s love of reading.

A quietly satisfying read. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4381-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A resounding success.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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CONCRETE ROSE

This literary DeLorean transports readers into the past, where they hope, dream, and struggle alongside beloved characters from Thomas’ The Hate U Give (2017).

The tale begins in 1998 Garden Heights, when Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, are high school seniors in love and planning for the future. Thomas proves Game of Thrones–esque in her worldbuilding ability, deepening her landscape without sacrificing intimacy or heart. Garden Heights doesn’t contain dragons or sorcerers, but it’s nevertheless a kingdom under siege, and the contemporary pressures its royalty faces are graver for the realness that no magic spell can alleviate. Mav’s a prince whose family prospects are diminished due to his father’s federally mandated absence. He and his best friend, King, are “li’l homies,” lower in status and with everything to prove, especially after Mav becomes a father. In a world where masculinity and violence are inextricably linked to power, the boys’ very identities are tied to the fathers whose names they bear and with whose legacies they must contend. Mav laments, “I ain’t as hard as my pops, ain’t as street as my pops,” but measuring up to that legacy ends in jail or the grave. Worthy prequels make readers invest as though meeting characters for the first time; here they learn more about the intricate hierarchies and alliances within the King Lord gang and gain deeper insight into former ancillary characters, particularly Mav’s parents, King, and Iesha. Characters are Black.

A resounding success. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-284671-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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