Complex questions are carefully presented but answered too simply in this nevertheless intriguing exploration.

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CAMERON AND THE GIRLS

In an engaging if predictable cautionary tale, 14-year-old Cameron stops taking medications for his schizophreniform disorder and finds that his choice brings unwanted consequences.

Off his medication, Cameron hears voices. He likes having some of the voices in his head, such as the even-keeled, informative Professor and the alluring Girl, a newer arrival. (They are helpfully represented, as are the other voices, by recognizably different typefaces.) His desire to hold onto the voices makes his quitting his meds believable and compelling. The central ambiguity—the way some aspects of Cameron’s unmedicated state feel desirable and important, even while others are confusing or frightening—is maintained almost to the end. A new, intimidating voice Cameron calls the Other Guy urges Cameron to take risks and be cruel, and readers feel the exhilaration Cameron experiences at obeying the Other Guy’s commands. Cameron’s parents and sister are realistically drawn, with believably flawed reactions to Cameron’s condition, as is his friend Nina, a classmate with depression from the Emotionally Disturbed Program. A pat ending, however, undermines the question of whether Cameron ought to be allowed to go without medication, as does an afterword in which the author, a clinical psychologist, speculates that “one day, Cameron might very well be free of the disease forever, which is his fondest hope.”

Complex questions are carefully presented but answered too simply in this nevertheless intriguing exploration. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-61215-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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