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TAHIRA IN BLOOM

A sweet read filled with fashion, flowers, and romance.

An aspiring fashion designer in Toronto makes the most of an unexpected summer opportunity.

Seventeen-year-old Tahira Janmohammad’s dream is to be a fashion designer, and she has a plan to make that happen: attend an arts high school, establish a social media presence, intern with a fashion designer, and get into the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. All is going well until her internship with a rising star designer falls through. Fortunately, Tahira’s aunt owns a small boutique and offers her a summer job. Unfortunately, it’s in the small town of Bakewell, the self-proclaimed flower capital of Ontario. With her best friend coming along, Tahira decides it won’t be so bad—until she meets 18-year-old Rowan Johnston, Sharmin Aunty’s rude but handsome nursery employee neighbor. An exciting opportunity arises when Tahira discovers that the floral sculpture competition portion of the annual flower festival might be her way in with a famous New York City streetwear designer who got his start in floral design. But first she must find a way to work with Rowan if she has any hope of winning and proving herself. Heron has penned an enjoyable coming-of-age romantic comedy. Touching on the pressures of social media, discovering your passions, and staying true to yourself, your morals, and your real friends, the book offers readers characters whose feelings and insecurities will resonate. Muslim Tahira is of Indian descent; Rowan is Black.

A sweet read filled with fashion, flowers, and romance. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-3037-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Skyscape

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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