Next book

CAUGHT IN A BAD FAUXMANCE

A satisfyingly complex story encompassing both romance and family healing.

Back home in Florida for winter break, a Latino college freshman faces emotional upheaval.

Struggling after his first semester at CalArts, an art school in Los Angeles, Devin Báez feels like a fraud. He’s also feeling distant from his family—twin sister Maya, dad, stepmom, and stepbrother. Returning to their old cabin near a lake for the first time since Mami died is bittersweet, especially with the small town’s decline and the neglected cabin’s deterioration. Adding to the stress, Dev is trying to finish his application for a prestigious animation mentorship, money is tight, and they might have to sell the cabin. When Dev bumps into Julian Seo-Cooke, the Korean and Cuban son of neighbors who are “loaded, obnoxious, and annoying as hell,” everything becomes even more complicated. Julian has become distractingly handsome, and he asks Dev to pretend to be his boyfriend in order to get a persistent ex to leave him alone. Everything culminates at the town’s annual Winter Games, historically the scene of a bitter rivalry between the Báezes and the (likely cheating) Seo-Cookes—and this year, the stakes are higher than ever. The sweet enemies-to-lovers romance develops slowly and believably. This debut also explores changing familial relationships, particularly between Dev and Maya, whose life paths diverge amid their financial troubles. The treatment of grief is layered, reflected throughout the family’s shared memories as they figure out how to move forward.

A satisfyingly complex story encompassing both romance and family healing. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780593645796

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Joy Revolution

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

Next book

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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

Close Quickview