Kassidy’s life in “deepest, darkest, dorkiest suburbia” would be manageable (the drudgery of her all-girls’ high school and...

GIRL OUT LOUD

A resolutely average teenager nearly collapses under the weight of her bipolar father’s outrageous expectations.

Kassidy’s life in “deepest, darkest, dorkiest suburbia” would be manageable (the drudgery of her all-girls’ high school and the unfairness of her brother Raff’s ability to get away with petty criminality notwithstanding), were it not for her sense of responsibility to keep her mercurial father on an even keel. Over the years, she’s gone along with his schemes for fame and recognition, submitting to testing to join Mensa and auditioning for a fish-sticks commercial as well as the National Youth Orchestra. But when Dad announces his intention to coach Kassidy to victory on The X Factor, she realizes that indulging him is no longer a viable strategy. Compounding Kass’ anxiety are a kitchen-sink’s worth of other issues: a reciprocated crush on the boy who turns out to be the object of her friend Char’s affection, the possibility that Raff may be drawn into a life of serious crime, and the discovery of her mother’s secret life outside the home. Gale succeeds in building a claustrophobic emotional atmosphere for her heroine to push back against, but the pileup of issues tips her story into unbelievable, soap-operatic territory. Readers will enjoy Kass’ self-deprecatingly funny approach to her many problems, but the credulity-straining plotting renders this a secondary purchase, at best. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-30438-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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