Vivi’s too precocious and world-weary from the start to make her relationship with practical Jonah ever feel like it has...


Vivi and Jonah’s hot summer romance is marred by her rebellion against her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his grief over his father’s recent death.

Artistic and outgoing, Vivi enjoys adopting various personas through vintage clothing and retro makeup, and she becomes immediately popular in the town where she and her mom are vacationing. When she meets handsome and serious Jonah, Vivi seems as interested in the possibility of acquiring him as a hot fling as she is in cheering him up. Jonah’s shocked to find himself in the cross hairs of exotic Vivi, and he initially tries to protect their romance by hiding his stress over his mother’s lingering depression. Vivi’s beauty and exuberant attentions dazzle Jonah, and they largely explain his patience with her increasing capriciousness and the growing emotional distance that contradicts her demands for physical intimacy. But eventually Vivi’s dismissals of Jonah’s growing distress about his family strains their relationship. Readers understand that Vivi has secretly stopped taking her medication, but it’s still difficult to watch her illness overshadow her interest in Jonah. Ultimately this is Vivi’s journey, despite her sharing narration in alternating chapters with Jonah. Aside from a Japanese police officer and the Latino chef at Jonah’s family’s restaurant, the book’s cast is largely white. An author’s note supplies some resources on mental illness.

Vivi’s too precocious and world-weary from the start to make her relationship with practical Jonah ever feel like it has possibility beyond the end of the summer, regardless of her diagnosis. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-845-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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


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

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