Mild in every way but language, this tale of privileged teens offers a fairly satisfying glimpse of an almost alternate...



Many novels for teens tackle too much, but Mills goes another direction, focusing on Sloane's family and new friends to the virtual exclusion of school, work, and what readers are told is her passion for singing.

Fortunately, these friends are smarter, wittier, and way better looking than your average crew. Vera is a social media maven and a lesbian with a girlfriend in college; her twin, Gabe, is best friends with Remy, who just broke up with Aubrey; and then there's Frank, who has presence and sanctions parties. Sloane's father is a well-known novelist who has written popular books that have been made into movies. Writer's block has resulted in the family’s move from New York to this Florida resort town. Fastening onto a TV prime-time soap opera about teen werewolves, he pulls everyone into the show and the fanfic universe surrounding it, resulting in occasional musings about writing. Sloane replaces Aubrey as Vera's bestie, and Remy asks for Sloane's help to understand the breakup. Sloane decides to right the wrong done to Gabe and Vera when their new, young stepmother gives away a meaningful painting done by their deceased artist mother, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Obviously, it's not the plot that matters here, but the commentary on writing, art, friendship, love, and facing the future is always entertaining. In addition to Latino Vera and Gabe, Remy is described as dark-skinned; Sloane, Aubrey, and Frank seem to be white.

Mild in every way but language, this tale of privileged teens offers a fairly satisfying glimpse of an almost alternate universe in which mundane life can be ignored. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-935-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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