Lord successfully adapts classic elements of adult romance novels into a love story gentle enough for younger readers.

OPEN ROAD SUMMER

Reagan joins her best friend Delilah’s summer concert tour to escape some poor decisions and break some bad habits, finding romance and complication instead.

When Reagan finds herself attracted to soulful musician Matt, romance seems inevitable—but the record company has hired him to pose as Delilah’s wholesome boyfriend. Reagan and Matt are both good-hearted characters suffering from emotional wounds. A victim of dating violence (described dramatically but not graphically in flashback), Reagan finds curbing her reckless impulses surprisingly difficult. Matt is reeling from his mother’s death and struggling to define himself as a person and artist after the demise of his famous band. Luckily, both have the classic supportive friend in Delilah, who shores them up emotionally and encourages their romance—even as she struggles with the pressures of her increasing fame. These characters are predictable, and the happily-ever-after ending is really never in doubt, but romance fans will undoubtedly still enjoy the developing relationships. Lord also deserves credit for plausibly explaining the lack of adult supervision: Their chaperone, Delilah’s 26-year-old aunt, is distracted by her involvement with a new tour boyfriend. Even without adult supervision, Reagan and Matt’s physical relationship is passionate but, refreshingly, restrained.

Lord successfully adapts classic elements of adult romance novels into a love story gentle enough for younger readers. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3610-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more