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A cute love story.

A high school senior helps her best friend ask the most popular girl in school to prom.

Eighteen-year-old Ivelisse Santos is angsty about her future. Mami wants her to stay close to home by attending Rutgers, and she doesn’t want to disappoint her, but Ivelisse’s heart is set on going to Sarah Lawrence to study theater and then become a set designer. Ivelisse misses spending quality time with her single mom, an industrious nurse who works night shifts and has recently begun spending every free moment dating new men. Luckily, she can always count on Joaquin Romero, the boy next door and her best friend. They share everything, from a pet dog to a love of slushies, and are always there for each other. (Ivelisse hasn’t seen her dad in 10 years, and Joaquin’s mom moved back to Puerto Rico to help his ailing grandmother.) But then Joaquin returns home from spring break with a major crush on Tessa Hernandez, a cheerleader known for breaking hearts whom Ivelisse strongly dislikes. Joaquin begs Ivelisse to help him plan the ultimate promposal, and as she helps him woo Tessa, she must confront whether she truly wants to protect Joaquin from rejection, is afraid of losing their friendship, or has been in love with him all along. The story meanders in places, but the central duo’s long friendship is sweetly fleshed out, and their characterization will win readers over.

A cute love story. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9780593705179

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Joy Revolution

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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