A timely read that will ultimately prove timeless.

SUGGESTED READING

A high school senior takes censorship to task in this engrossing literary love letter.

Clara Evans doesn’t just love books. They are the language of her life. When she finds out that Lupton Academy—the prestigious Chattanooga private school she attends—has been secretly banning books for years, she realizes that she has a duty to fight back. With the help of the school librarian; her best friend, LiQui Carson; and unexpected allies, she forms an underground book club designed to send the message that literature belongs to everyone. In this compulsively readable novel, Connis (The Temptation of Adam, 2017, etc.) demonstrates deep reverence for literature’s ability to create community and challenge our beliefs. Only a true believer could craft a work of such relevance and heart, and every facet of this novel, from chapter headings designed as censored books to finely etched characters and witty teen-speak dialogue, proves this author’s worth as a champion of literature. Clara’s relationships with major and minor characters feel as authentic as the novel’s Tennessee setting, which provides a backdrop for exploring class inequality within the private school world. As Clara—a working-class student competing for a college scholarship—sets out to change her school, she finds herself confronting her own prejudices. An absence of clear physical descriptions makes race difficult to determine.

A timely read that will ultimately prove timeless. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-268525-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes.

HERE'S TO US

Former boyfriends’ “big Broadway love story” gets a revival in this sequel to What If It’s Us (2018).

Two years after their flash romance, Ben Alejo and Arthur Seuss (both now in college) couldn’t have drifted further apart. But destiny intervenes when Arthur lands his “ultimate top-tier pie-in-the-sky dream job” interning at a queer off-Broadway theater for the summer. Their long-anticipated reunion comes with a small catch: Both boys are basically taken. Ben met Mario in his college creative writing class, and, while they aren’t boyfriends, the connection—and attraction—is definitely there. Arthur’s officially dating Mikey, whose sweetness and steadiness saved him from remaining a “Ben-addled mess.” Cue the confusion—and inevitable broken hearts—as Ben and Arthur contend with their pasts and presents while trying to figure out their futures. Who will end up with whom? Albertalli’s and Silvera’s voices blend seamlessly, balancing the complexities of the boys’ situations with heartfelt (and heartwarming) nostalgia. As in the previous book, the narrative alternates between Ben’s and Arthur’s perspectives with off-the-charts wit and chemistry. Lovable side characters have grown and matured, while new characters expand the world to create an even stronger sense of community. Loose ends are tied up believably with an epilogue. Arthur is Jewish; Ben and Mario are Puerto Rican, and Mikey is White.

Swoonworthy wish fulfillment that checks all the right boxes. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307163-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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