Rife with witticism, like a finely honed sitcom, and brimming with heart.

FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN

The summer before senior year, Sophie falls for a new neighbor and campaigns for a country music star to help raise money for the school band.

Sophie Kemper loves her small hometown of Acadia, Illinois. Though she’s focused on college applications, she can’t help wondering why anyone would want to leave. School band is her thing, and as the next president of the fundraising committee, it’s her responsibility to get them to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Sophie hatches a plan to raise money by persuading Megan Pleasant, country singer and lone famous person from Acadia, to perform at the fall festival. At the same time, she finds herself falling for August Shaw, the mysterious new boy who is staying with the family she babysits for down the street. They instantly click, exchanging clever banter and bonding over their blended families. But August won’t let Sophie in, and the sister she desperately misses disappoints her. Even her once-tight friendship group begins to splinter. On top of everything, Megan Pleasant seems to have deserted Acadia for good. Teeming with witty exchanges and realistic but heady drama, Sophie’s summer is easy to sink into. Though the romance is electric, it’s the relationships with her friends that really sing. Sophie and August are assumed white; there is some ethnic and sexual orientation diversity.

Rife with witticism, like a finely honed sitcom, and brimming with heart. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17963-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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