There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah.

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BENEATH THE GLITTER

Hardworking sisters face glamorous romantic and professional challenges in Los Angeles.

Approachable fashionista-next-door video bloggers Sophia and Ava London have built an impressive reputation as savvy guides to fashion, accessories and personal grooming and are thrilled to be moving up in their shared career. An award naming the tightknit sisters Best Webstars of the Year leads to a licensing deal for their own makeup line—London Calling—with LuxeLife Cosmetics, and now the hottest men in Los Angeles are falling at their feet. Ava begins dating paparazzi-bait–turned–doting boyfriend Liam Carlson (but she continues to enjoy flirtatious banter with Dalton, a fellow volunteer at the local animal shelter). Meanwhile, Sophia, “boytoxing” after being blindsided by a terrible breakup, finds herself torn between wealthy smoothie Hunter Ralston and gorgeous Italian bartender-sculptor Giovanni. The Fowlers—who, like their protagonists, are beauty-and-fashion video bloggers—let their otherwise-effervescent modern fairy tale of sisterly love and self-actualization get bogged down in a dreary subplot of sibling separation anxiety and jealousy, basing it on the flimsiest of serial miscommunications and resolving it in a single paragraph. A last-chapter twist threatens the sisters’ reputation (and sets up a potential sequel), making the novel simply stop, rather than resolve.

There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah. (Chick lit. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00618-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

HIT

A dual-narrator novel explores the concept of forgiveness.

Budding poet Sarah is torn between two colleges: Mills, which has offered her a full scholarship, and the University of Washington, whose only appeal is Mr. Haddings. A grad student and poet-in-residence at her school, the charismatic Haddings has Sarah considering a change of plans, to the dismay of Sarah’s controlling mother. Haddings knows he needs to keep the relationship professional, but he’s having a hard time with that. Then, in a moment of distraction, Haddings hits Sarah with his car. Over the next three days, Sarah will cope with the pain, the accident and her worries about her future, while her family—oblivious father, brittle mother and immature brother—and her best friend try to help her. Haddings copes with his crushing guilt, usually making choices that make everything worse. Straining credulity, both Sarah and Haddings wonder if there might be a chance for them still, when the more important question is whether they can ever forgive. Plot events are sequenced poorly and depend far too much on coincidence for their effect; the dual narrative does not provide substantial additional insight, making it feel contrived as well. Stilted dialogue makes characters feel flat, particularly Sarah’s brother.

Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-7295-0-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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An undemanding, wish-fulfillment romance.

PAPER HEARTS

From the Heartbreakers Chronicles series , Vol. 2

Another fluffy romance between a girl and a boy-band member, following The Heartbreakers (2015).

Four years ago, after her rebellious older sister, Rose, ran away, Felicity came up with a plan for her future, one designed to make her single mom happy: going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer—just like her absentee dad. It also means working, studying hard, and volunteering as much as she can, leaving little time for enjoying her summer with her best friends, Asha and Boomer. Then, volunteering at a charity ball, she meets the very cute, very reserved Alec, a member of the Heartbreakers. Sparks fly, but right before their first date, Felicity discovers a life-altering secret her mother has been keeping: Rose has been writing Felicity letters since she left. This sends Felicity on a quest to find Rose, accompanied by Alec, Asha, and Boomer. Along the way, she’ll have to come to grips with questions about lies, the truth, and whether her plans for the future will make her happy—can her happiness include Alec? The romance between Felicity and Alec is standard, from the meet-cute to the inevitable misunderstanding. There’s not really anything that elevates the characters or plot beyond the conventional, yet Novak handles it all with a light, deft touch. Save mixed-race Asha, whose mother is Indian and whose father is white, the cast of principals is an all-white one.

An undemanding, wish-fulfillment romance. (Romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5336-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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