This sophomoric sophomore effort reads like a rough draft for a screenplay…which it may well be.

READ REVIEW

STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

High school senior Carson Phillips will get into Northwestern and be the youngest freelance journalist published in all the major outlets, and he’s not above blackmail to get there.

Although he’s single-handedly kept the Clover High Chronicle in print and the Writing Club functioning (by teaching the journalism class, one of many credulity-stretching details) for years, Carson is worried that he won’t get into his dream school. The acceptance letter will be his ticket out of the backward town of Clover which, like high school, is peopled by Carson’s intellectual inferiors. When his counselor suggests he edit and submit a literary magazine with his application, Carson and his dim, plagiaristic sidekick Malerie hatch a scheme to blackmail a chunk of the student body into submitting work. Colfer’s joyless and amateurish satire is little more than a series of scenes that seem to be created as vehicles for lame and often clichéd one-liners. Once Carson’s bullied his classmates (stereotypes one and all) into writing for him, he develops a soul and dispenses Dr. Phil–worthy advice to his victims—and he’s confused when they don’t thank him. Carson is so unlikable, so groundlessly conceited that when lightning literally does strike, readers who’ve made it that far may well applaud.

This sophomoric sophomore effort reads like a rough draft for a screenplay…which it may well be. (Fiction. 15-17)

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-23295-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Best leave it at maybe so.

YES NO MAYBE SO

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Featuring short, punchy chapters, engagingly flawed characters, and a plot that churns ever forward, this frothy confection...

AFTER HOURS

The stakes of a game of dares grow uncomfortably high for four teens.

The Waterside Café is as good a workplace as it is a fine dining experience. The clientele is classy, and the post-work game of Tips run by sleazy (but initially tolerable) manager Rico provides the young staff with biweekly opportunities to make extra cash on the side by fulfilling outrageous dares. The four protagonists of Kennedy’s debut—Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn—each have something to hide, and all four try to use Tips’ promises of financial independence and social capital to achieve their goals. Isa wants to leave her beauty-queen past behind, Xavi wants to attend fashion-design school in New York, Peter wants to become a chef (and win his stepsister Xavi’s heart), and Finn just wants to have fun. As the intensity of the summer’s dares increases, the four teens face ever steeper consequences for their choices, including a pregnancy scare, potential arrest for teen prostitution, and being framed as a burglar. An impressively efficient series of coincidences and schemes must be assembled in order to keep the stakes for these likable kids from becoming depressingly real.

Featuring short, punchy chapters, engagingly flawed characters, and a plot that churns ever forward, this frothy confection may not nourish, but it will certainly delight. (Fiction. 15-17)

Pub Date: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3016-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more