Pleasantly and audaciously fills a gap in queer romance.

THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE

A girl-girl rom-com packed with all the standard cheesy moments and raw emotions.

Having just completed her final exams, 17-year-old Saoirse heads into summer after high school with a lot on her plate: not wanting to attend prestigious Oxford, though her father’s set on it; navigating the anxiety and struggles of a mother suffering from early-onset dementia; and her father’s upcoming marriage to his new girlfriend, Beth. To postpone dealing with any of that, she heads to a party. There, she finds a cute girl to kiss—Ruby, visiting the seaside Irish town from her native England. Ruby adores romantic comedy films. To convert horror-loving Saoirse, Ruby proposes they try to complete a list of rom-com clichés over the summer. Commitment-phobic Saoirse’s keen to promote wholesome lesbian romance and to keep things casual. As they spend time together, however, it gets harder for Saoirse to follow her own relationship boundary rules. The novel’s voice is delightfully brash and no-nonsense while it simultaneously reveals Saoirse’s vulnerabilities as she deals with various feelings of betrayal. Smyth paints each character as a complex, messy, lifelike individual. Irish slang adds cultural texture to the story. Most characters are cued as white; Beth is English and brown-skinned.

Pleasantly and audaciously fills a gap in queer romance. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295711-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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