RUBY UNSCRIPTED

Fifteen-year-old Ruby is facing another major upheaval in her life. Her mother and stepfather are moving the family hours away from their small town to a more upscale community in Marin County, Calif. Here, they will move into a house provided by a relative, and Ruby will take a part-time job in her Aunt Jenna’s coffeehouse/cinema. To add to Ruby’s distress, crush Nick reveals he likes her just as she is leaving, and her older brother, Carson, decides to stay with their father and stepmother. Descriptions of Ruby’s work in the coffeehouse and her memories of life back in Cottonwood effectively create a sense of contrast between the two worlds. Ruby’s family has a strong connection to their Christian faith and she tries to understand God’s purpose for her life as she navigates even more difficulties with new family members and new friends. Ruby is a lively character, and the Christian themes are woven seamlessly through the story. The complicated adults in Ruby’s life are especially well drawn. An enjoyable story that will resonate with teen readers of Christian fiction. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59554-356-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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IF I STAY

When snow cancels school, Mia and her family pile into their beat-up station wagon for a drive. Unlike most 17-year-olds, Mia is secretly enjoying hanging out with her quirky family until an oncoming driver shatters their lives, leaving the gravely injured Mia with the ultimate decision: Should she stay or go? As a spirit-like observer, Mia narrates the next 24 hours, describing how her medical team, friends, boyfriend and extended family care for her each in their own way. Woven into her real-time observations are powerful memories that organically introduce Mia’s passion for classical music, her relationship with her boyfriend and her bond with her parents and brother. These memories reinforce the magnitude of Mia’s decision and provide weight to both sides of her dilemma. Forman excels at inserting tiny but powerful details throughout, including the realistic sounds, smells and vocabulary of a hospital, which will draw readers into this masterful text and undoubtedly tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-525-42103-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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