Readers will likely solve the puzzle before Jane does, but fortunately, there’s plenty to enjoy here besides the whodunit.

READ REVIEW

THE TENDERNESS OF THIEVES

A smart, straight-laced teen who’s survived a terrifying crime falls hard for a boy from a family with a bad reputation in this summer romance shot through with suspense.

Jane yearns for happiness following the events of the year before, when her father, a police officer, came to her aid and was murdered while she was blindfolded and held at knife point during a burglary. However, summer has barely begun in their insular New England town when Jane suddenly finds herself pursued by gorgeous bad boy Handel. Her tightknit group of friends is convincingly divided in their opinions about the burgeoning relationship. In contrast, Jane’s mother, a talented seamstress whose work draws customers across the town’s sharply portrayed class divide, is believably supportive and open with her daughter, whom she pushes toward making some peace with the past even as she trusts her to make her own decisions about love and sex. The meandering, dreamy language—grass is “tender with the newness of life,” and Jane’s desire makes her heart “flutter like the wings of a hummingbird”—is perfect for the hazy, hot summer days depicted, though the mystery isn’t served as well by the languid pace.

Readers will likely solve the puzzle before Jane does, but fortunately, there’s plenty to enjoy here besides the whodunit. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17136-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 29

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more