Schneider’s debut asks readers to consider how and where to draw the line between forgivable and inexcusable transgressions...

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SUMMER OF SLOANE

Blindsided by betrayal, wounded in heart and hand, Sloane escapes to Hawaii, where she finds healing, romance, and new complications.

During the school year, Sloane and her twin brother, Penn, live in Seattle with their lawyer dad and spend summers with their mom and stepdad, both surgeons, in their oceanfront home near Waikiki. A successful competitive swimmer who’s learned to manage her asthma, Sloane’s shattered when her best friend, Mick, confesses she’s pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, Tyler. When his efforts to explain fall short, Sloane breaks his nose and her hand. Off to Hawaii, she gets a warm welcome (with piles of presents) from her mother and a car to share with Penn. Soon they’re partying on the beach with old friends and new—especially Finn, son of a wealthy hotel magnate, who’s seriously hot and smitten with Sloane. Their romance blossoms. When not engaged in beach parties and retail therapy, Sloane teaches Finn’s traumatized little sister to swim and tries to ignore the texts and email from Mick and Tyler pleading for forgiveness; this is her summer, her mother tells her. When Sloane’s past catches up with her, she must face the betrayal head-on. What distinguishes this romance from a standard-issue beach read is its likable main character. One-quarter native Hawaiian and three-quarters white, Sloane and Penn are blond and beautiful, and they are surrounded by likewise beautiful, toned, bronzed teens.

Schneider’s debut asks readers to consider how and where to draw the line between forgivable and inexcusable transgressions in those we love. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2525-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

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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Best leave it at maybe so.

YES NO MAYBE SO

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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