A thoughtful indictment of white, cisgender, heterosexual rape culture.

HE MUST LIKE YOU

Libby just wanted to make enough in tips to save for college, not be the sacrificial victim of her small town’s #MeToo moment.

After discovering that her parents ended up spending her college fund, Libby, who aspires to work in a museum—an ambition her father considers frivolous—has no choice but to earn as much as she can as quickly as she can. A scant few months into her waitressing job, 18-year-old Libby has already dealt with a proposition from obtuse co-worker Kyle and an unwanted butt grab and leering ridicule from Perry, a rich older man. Libby’s short-lived retaliation against Perry gets her fired—and infamous on the internet. Worse, she’s coping with trauma from two other sexual assaults and her father’s dysfunctional dominance. As Libby receives guidance from Dahlia, her school nurse, the town mobilizes against Perry for harassing servers, and Libby soon faces an agonizing choice. The novel takes on the topic of nonconsent and how deeply it is baked into male-female interactions in American society, a subject as fraught as things can get. Libby’s frank, wisecracking narration bolsters the reader through difficult scenes and occasionally uneven pacing. Though the story ends on a hopeful note, its honesty can be brutal. Mental health and racism are touched upon glancingly. Most main characters are white; Dahlia is brown-skinned, and Libby’s best friend is Chinese American.

A thoughtful indictment of white, cisgender, heterosexual rape culture. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3571-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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

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GIRL IN PIECES

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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