A cleverly plotted teen romance with a problematic protagonist.

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TIME OF OUR LIVES

When two very different teens meet on a college road trip, sparks begin to fly.

Exhausted by the needs of her family, Juniper Ramírez can’t wait for the freedom of college. When she sets off to tour colleges with her boyfriend, Matt, it feels like her future is beginning. Fitz Holton, terrified by his mother’s genetic predisposition to early-onset Alzheimer’s, long ago decided to attend a local college so he can care for her if and when she needs additional support. When Fitz’s mother forces him to go on a college tour with his brother, Lewis—who was adopted from India (Fitz was adopted from Arkansas)—it feels like torture. When Fitz and Juniper cross paths after an information session at Boston University, their feelings about their families change as they fall for one another and consider the possibility of a shared future. Their connection takes them both by surprise, creating a romance that simmers at a slow burn. Juniper’s character is well drawn, and her struggle with balancing her ambition with her familial responsibilities is both complex and authentic. Fitz, however, is less believable: His anger toward his brother feels forced and manufactured, and his bitterness about his brother’s decision to connect with his birth family and their home culture reinforces tropes used to deny adoptees access to their personal histories. Fitz is cued as white; Juniper is Mexican American.

A cleverly plotted teen romance with a problematic protagonist. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3583-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.

CODE NAME VERITY

Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II.

In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war, but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place.

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5219-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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