Next book


From the West 44 YA Verse series

Captivating and sweet.

An endearingly romantic story told in engaging verse for reluctant readers.

Ana Morales doesn’t have the most positive views of love: Her parents are always fighting, and her sister seems to collect breakups. Simply put, Ana says, “Love is / something / I want no part of.” But Regina, Ana’s best friend since first grade, has “the password / that lets her into / the VIP room / of my heart.” Still, Regina’s relationship with her girlfriend is full of ups and downs, which certainly doesn’t convince Ana to give romance a shot. Instead, she’s far more interested in writing stories “that tell the truth…that change the world.” When her teacher Mr. Diaz announces a fiction contest, she’s laser-focused on winning. But the theme is “teamwork,” the short stories must be written in pairs—and Ana’s been assigned to work with her former childhood best friend, Alejandro Garcia. He’s into romance both as a genre and in real life. They’re forced to hang out again, and Ana may start to see Alejandro in a different light, but some real-life drama is right around the corner, ready to remind Ana why she’s protecting her heart. Full of symbolism, this first-love story is told in short poems that unfold in chronological order and also explore the love between family and friends. All main characters are Latine.

Captivating and sweet. (Verse fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781978597143

Page Count: 200

Publisher: West 44 Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

Next book


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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Next book


A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Close Quickview