Powerful and deeply resonant.

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I DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE

A girl tries to cope with her parents’ divorce and her own developing friendships and romance.

This award-winner from Austria focuses on Charlotte, who has become enraged by her parents’ divorce. First, her mother moves the children out of their home and into Charlotte’s grandmother’s small row house. Then Charlotte spots her father with his new wife, a blonde bombshell. As her rage grows, she neglects her schoolwork and keeps returning to her old home, sold to new owners, who begin to shoo her away. Now 15, she meets new friends at school, including handsome, Italian Carlo, who’s trying to cope with the death of his father. But then her mother abruptly moves them again, into a home in their old neighborhood, as she begins a relationship with another man. Just when things begin to settle down, more turmoil occurs. At last Charlotte begins to see life through the same lenses as her parents and makes her own decisions. Kreslehner develops a multilayered characterization of Charlotte, convincingly getting under the skin of a girl whose life becomes disrupted by divorce. It’s an immersive, believable portrait of how adolescents cope, or not, with divorce, drawn from an inside view.

Powerful and deeply resonant. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55498-803-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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An earnest examination of mental health in sports.

GEESE ARE NEVER SWANS

Sixteen-year-old Gus Bennett lives in the shadow of his older brother, Danny, a former Olympic swimming hopeful who recently died by suicide.

Gus does not have an easy home life: He has a strained relationship with his mother, a single parent who’s still struggling after Danny’s death; and his older sister, Darien, has a drug addiction and abandoned her now 18-month-old child to the care of their mother. But Gus hopes to train with Coach Marks, the renowned trainer who worked with his brother. He even sneaks into the country club to get access to the pool, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. He has his eye on qualifying for the national team and seems poised for success, but he soon experiences a downward spiral and engages in reckless behavior. Although the side characters are underdeveloped, Gus’ first-person narration carries the story along smoothly. Conceptualized by the late Academy Award–winning basketball player Bryant and written by Clark, this emotional novel contains lyrical prose that beautifully captures the energy of swimming and short chapters that will keep readers engaged. Physical descriptions are limited, suggesting a white default, but naming conventions suggest some diversity among the swim team members.

An earnest examination of mental health in sports. (resources) (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949520-05-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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