A thoughtful exploration of grief and life.

HOW TO BE BRAVE

After the death of her mother, Georgia tries to really live while figuring out what that means.

All through high school, Georgia has been in “no-woman’s-land” with her best friend, Liss. After losing her mom, her father buries himself in their failing restaurant, and Georgia feels like she's drowning. But Georgia can't forget her timorous mother's final words to her—to “do everything”—and they prompt her to make a list of things to do to become brave. Not worrying about her overweight appearance, Georgia focuses on truly living her life. Some are easily accomplished, like No. 12—smoke pot—with the help of a new friend, Evelyn. But then there are tougher tasks, like asking out—and kissing—Daniel, Georgia's crush, and learning how to draw like her mom. As Georgia discovers her artistic talents, however, her romance with Daniel hits several snags. And when a mistake wrecks Georgia's friendship with Liss, she's left wondering if the list is actually helping her. Will she have the courage to keep going, or will she give up? Georgia's realistically profane voice aptly captures her personality, carrying the novel; her traverse through grief and experimentation make for a believable and satisfying character arc.

A thoughtful exploration of grief and life. (Fiction. 16-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-07280-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for...

A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT

From the Court of Thorns and Roses series , Vol. 4

A glimpse of the characters dealing with rebuilding and fallout after A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017).

In a change of pace from the usual epic struggle against powerful forces, this slimmer-than-usual volume follows the cast during the festive Winter Solstice holiday. Nods to trouble on the horizon (dissent in the Illyrian ranks, Fae courts eyeing for expansion, and a politically fraught situation among humans) remain distant, the lack of progress at times resulting in frustrating repetition. Cassian’s and Mor’s backstories are explored, and prickly Amren’s low-key relationship storyline is supplemented by her High Fae adjustments (including bodily humor). While Elain is becoming more comfortable, she still wants nothing to do with Lucien (who feels like an outsider nearly everywhere and has his hands full with a self-destructive Tamlin). Severely struggling Nesta self-medicates through alcohol, meaningless sex, pushing everyone away, and finding every last seedy corner of the otherwise utopian Velaris. While Rhys handles politics, Feyre’s storyline revolves around Solstice shopping and art’s potential for healing trauma—when the lovers aren’t telepathically sexting or craving each other. Aside from occasional minor characters, most of the inhuman cast seem white. Several plotlines are predictably resolved.

With introspection replacing battles, this extended epilogue gives breathing room between dramatic arcs but is best for readers who’d prefer downtime with the characters over high stakes. (map, preview of next title) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-631-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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