Creative prose and sharp interactions, marred only by some stereotyping; a fresh read nevertheless.

FAT ANGIE

From the Fat Angie series , Vol. 1

Entrancingly eccentric prose, a protagonist “jam-packed with awkward” and a military sister missing in action coalesce into a memorable romance that’s rockier than might be expected—and more realistic.

Fat Angie’s sister, “the fulcrum of their family machine,” was captured nine months ago and shown “on Iraqi television, tied to a chair, blindfolded and bruised.” Family, national news and everyone in Dryfalls, Ohio, presume she’s dead—except Fat Angie. After a very public meltdown, Fat Angie faces bullying at school and “all kinds of weird sadness” at home, including maternal comments like “No one is ever going to love you if you stay fat.” Into this anguish materializes KC Romance, a slang-talking new girl in combat boots and skull-and-crossbones fishnets. She defends Fat Angie; she likes Fat Angie; she calls her, simply, Angie. Angie falls “heart-forward into KC’s dark eyes,” and the girls are “gay-girl gay” together (their affectionate term). But Angie’s tongue-tied, and KC has secret pain; a “sad awkward” keeps cropping up. Like their relationship, and like Angie’s lionhearted attempt to emulate her missing sister’s backbone on the basketball court, Charlton-Trujillo’s prose has a peppery flavor, pointedly carbonated (“You break it. You know? My heart”) and wryly funny. Unfortunately, fatness is a misery symbol—it’s post–weight-loss, “not-so-plump Angie” who finds happiness.

Creative prose and sharp interactions, marred only by some stereotyping; a fresh read nevertheless. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6119-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more