An addictive page-turner that begins with a forbidden romance but turns into so much more.

TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE

Eighteen-year-old Lane Jamison’s enduring crush, Grey McIntyre, moves into her house and becomes her stepbrother.

When she was 5, Lane’s mother died by suicide, leaving her motherless and traumatized. Inundated with relentless nightmares of that bloody and violent night, Lane prefers to keep people at arm’s length lest she begin to care about them. Her life is further complicated when her father remarries and the object of her desire since eighth grade moves in. Green-eyed, cinnamon-haired Grey is everything Lane wants but can’t have, not only because he’s now her stepbrother, but also because he’s in a relationship with Southern belle Sadie Hall. When Lane and Connor (Sadie’s older brother) start a flirtation that irritates Grey as much as it delights Sadie, both relationships and friendships are tested. Lane must decide how far she’s willing to go for her attraction to Grey and what Connor really means to her. Flawed and fully fleshed out, the characters attempt to navigate their lives as best they can with the baggage they each carry. While the plot meanders at times, this is a solid debut that realistically portrays teens and touches on issues like sex, drugs, trauma, and mental illness. The writing is captivating and fluid—easily switching from lyrical and dreamy to raw and violent. All characters are assumed white.

An addictive page-turner that begins with a forbidden romance but turns into so much more. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5021-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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With appeal to cynics and romantics alike, this profound exploration of life and love tempers harsh realities with the...

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THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

Natasha and Daniel meet, get existential, and fall in love during 12 intense hours in New York City.

Natasha believes in science and facts, things she can quantify. Fact: undocumented immigrants in the U.S., her family is being deported to Jamaica in a matter of hours. Daniel’s a poet who believes in love, something that can’t be explained. Fact: his parents, Korean immigrants, expect him to attend an Ivy League school and become an M.D. When Natasha and Daniel meet, Natasha’s understandably distracted—and doesn’t want to be distracted by Daniel. Daniel feels what in Japanese is called koi no yokan, “the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them.” The narrative alternates between the pair, their first-person accounts punctuated by musings that include compelling character histories. Daniel—sure they’re meant to be—is determined to get Natasha to fall in love with him (using a scientific list). Meanwhile, Natasha desperately attempts to forestall her family’s deportation and, despite herself, begins to fall for sweet, disarmingly earnest Daniel. This could be a sappy, saccharine story of love conquering all, but Yoon’s lush prose chronicles an authentic romance that’s also a meditation on family, immigration, and fate.

With appeal to cynics and romantics alike, this profound exploration of life and love tempers harsh realities with the beauty of hope in a way that is both deeply moving and satisfying. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49668-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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