JUMPING THE NAIL

Impelled by a heady blend of peer pressure and vainglory, a group of recently graduated California teens revive the local stunt of leaping from a 90-foot cliff into the sea where some of their predecessors died. Skillfully, Bunting homes in on the dynamics of daredevil behavior, omitting such trappings of teen rebellion as alcohol, drugs, or problem parents. Conscientious Dru, her narrator, is about to be a scholarship student at Northwestern; Dru's new boyfriend, Mike, is rich but very nice. Dru's anxiety especially concerns her close friend Elisa, whose mental health she knows is fragile. Elisa's charismatic but boorishly insensitive boyfriend, Scooter, cajoles Elisa into joining him in the first jump. Afraid to lore him, Elisa complies; Though neither is physically hurt, the effect on Elisa is traumatic. Next, driven by the growing exhilaration plus competition over Mike's sexy former girlfriend, twin boys jump, surviving with minor injuries but adding to the tension—to which Elisa tragically succumbs before Mike and Dru are able to carry out their difficult resolution to inform the police. Satisfying suspense that unobtrusively incorporates wholesome values while drawing a credible picture of ordinary teens enthralled by their own escalating frenzy. (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-15-241357-X

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

Did you like this book?

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli.

DEAD WEDNESDAY

For two teenagers, a small town’s annual cautionary ritual becomes both a life- and a death-changing experience.

On the second Wednesday in June, every eighth grader in Amber Springs, Pennsylvania, gets a black shirt, the name and picture of a teen killed the previous year through reckless behavior—and the silent treatment from everyone in town. Like many of his classmates, shy, self-conscious Robbie “Worm” Tarnauer has been looking forward to Dead Wed as a day for cutting loose rather than sober reflection…until he finds himself talking to a strange girl or, as she would have it, “spectral maiden,” only he can see or touch. Becca Finch is as surprised and confused as Worm, only remembering losing control of her car on an icy slope that past Christmas Eve. But being (or having been, anyway) a more outgoing sort, she sees their encounter as a sign that she’s got a mission. What follows, in a long conversational ramble through town and beyond, is a day at once ordinary yet rich in discovery and self-discovery—not just for Worm, but for Becca too, with a climactic twist that leaves both ready, or readier, for whatever may come next. Spinelli shines at setting a tongue-in-cheek tone for a tale with serious underpinnings, and as in Stargirl (2000), readers will be swept into the relationship that develops between this adolescent odd couple. Characters follow a White default.

Characters to love, quips to snort at, insights to ponder: typical Spinelli. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30667-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more