This plotless, grandiloquent slice of life will appeal to readers working their way up to Ayn Rand and Tom Robbins.

A stylized, meandering sequel to King Dork (2006).

Tom Henderson’s new adventure begins where King Dork ended: in 1999, after a brutal tuba attack preceding the Christmas vacation of Tom’s sophomore year. Despite his brief sexual successes before this volume’s opening, he’s still alone but for his only friend, Sam. Their dork solidarity against the “normal” tormenting thugs of Hillmont High is doomed, however. The fall semester’s scandals have led to Hillmont’s closure, and the two boys are off to separate high schools. Now Sam’s listening to getting-the-girl motivational tapes, giving Tom advice steeped in toxic misogyny. Tom’s disturbed by Clearview High’s seemingly sincere school spirit; it reminds him of the perky normalcy of Happy Days or Grease. Tom gets his first girlfriend and discovers that getting along with others is not all it’s cracked up to be. He’s a CD-hating, vinyl-worshipping proto-hipster who, along with Sam, refers to his favorite albums by catalog number—“I actually might like EKS 74071 better than EKS 74051”—guaranteeing that neither their classmates nor the novel’s readers will be able to participate in the conversation. Meticulously described historical elements—Tom’s sister’s obsession with the family landline, the boys’ hatred of modern CD music formats, Sam’s dorky, holstered, clunky cellphone—are conspicuous in this otherwise modern-seeming story.

This plotless, grandiloquent slice of life will appeal to readers working their way up to Ayn Rand and Tom Robbins. (Historical fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-73618-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014


Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017


There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah.

Hardworking sisters face glamorous romantic and professional challenges in Los Angeles.

Approachable fashionista-next-door video bloggers Sophia and Ava London have built an impressive reputation as savvy guides to fashion, accessories and personal grooming and are thrilled to be moving up in their shared career. An award naming the tightknit sisters Best Webstars of the Year leads to a licensing deal for their own makeup line—London Calling—with LuxeLife Cosmetics, and now the hottest men in Los Angeles are falling at their feet. Ava begins dating paparazzi-bait–turned–doting boyfriend Liam Carlson (but she continues to enjoy flirtatious banter with Dalton, a fellow volunteer at the local animal shelter). Meanwhile, Sophia, “boytoxing” after being blindsided by a terrible breakup, finds herself torn between wealthy smoothie Hunter Ralston and gorgeous Italian bartender-sculptor Giovanni. The Fowlers—who, like their protagonists, are beauty-and-fashion video bloggers—let their otherwise-effervescent modern fairy tale of sisterly love and self-actualization get bogged down in a dreary subplot of sibling separation anxiety and jealousy, basing it on the flimsiest of serial miscommunications and resolving it in a single paragraph. A last-chapter twist threatens the sisters’ reputation (and sets up a potential sequel), making the novel simply stop, rather than resolve.

There’s a built-in audience for the London sisters’ adventures, but beneath all the glitter is a bunch of blah. (Chick lit. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00618-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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