This inventive retelling is part of the OMG Classics series. OMG, indeed. English class may never be the same.

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SCROOGE #WORSTGIFTEVER

From the OMG Classics series

A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from miser to mensch, is recast for a new generation with this 21st-century version told entirely in texts, Facebook posts, and chat transcripts.

The cover sets the scene with Scrooge in his nightshirt, wearing the emoji face that suggests Munch’s The Scream. He is facing Marley’s ghost, who bears a one-eyed emoji face with his tongue sticking out. A Facebook post introduces the story with the news that Marley is dead, Scrooge inherits all, and the business will be open every day, including Christmas. Scrooge communicates with all the other characters, identified in a “Who’s Who” list with their own individual emojis. The Ghost of Christmas Past is represented by a floppy disc, the Ghost of Christmas Present is a wrapped Christmas present (ha ha, get it?), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the speak-no-evil–monkey emoji. Text-speak abbreviations are used throughout the story, with a handy list of “The 411 for Those Not in the Know” appended at the end. This abridged edition of Dickens’ story includes all the elements of the plot, distilled down to basics in the short, succinct manner required with texting. The humor is often a bit like finding buried treasure, seeing connections between the characters and emojis in texts or discovering an incongruous action by Scrooge, such as blocking someone’s texts.

This inventive retelling is part of the OMG Classics series. OMG, indeed. English class may never be the same. (Graphic classic. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55064-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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