A gloriously sweet holiday read about expectations and reality.


In this YA romance, a Christmas wish has life-changing consequences.

Graham Wallace wants two things: to get out of Christmas, Virginia, and Sarah Clarke. The former is his holiday-obsessed small town, which the high school junior finds cozy but stifling; the latter is his childhood pal and next-door neighbor, a dedicated ballerina who happens to be dating Graham’s best friend, Jeremy Davis. Time is running out before the school’s winter formal. Graham has just asked the new girl in town, Piper Hudson, who also happens to frequent the bookstore where he works, when he makes a private, late-night Christmas wish. The next morning, Graham has what he desired. In this alternate reality, Graham and Sarah have been dating for two years and are planning to move to New York City after graduation. Jeremy has transformed from skinny gamer to buff wrestler and is interested in Piper, still the new girl in town and now Graham’s co-worker at the bookstore. But as the holiday draws closer in Christmas, Virginia, Graham realizes he and Sarah may not be the perfect match he once fantasized about. Despite their long-term relationship, the couple struggle to connect, and her parents aren’t exactly crazy about him. In the meantime, Graham can’t get Piper off his mind—is she truly the one he’s meant to be with? Bobulski creates a Hallmark movie–esque setting in Christmas, with special traditions and quirky townsfolk, like bookstore owner Aunt Bee and Graham’s parents, who have a long-term love story of their own. Graham is a winning narrator, devoted to Sarah in a way that’s realistic for a teenage boy but without ever becoming obsessive or entitled about his dream girl. Sarah herself has realistic inner conflicts about the future she thinks she wants with Graham and her actual dreams; and Piper shines as a well-developed love interest—a cheerleader with a passion for reading to match Graham’s—who is always straightforward about her feelings in a way that’s truly refreshing.

A gloriously sweet holiday read about expectations and reality.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2021


Page Count: 214

Publisher: Wise Wolf Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.


The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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