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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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

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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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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