A compelling contemporary thriller for readers who don’t mind waiting for Volume 2.


From the Don't Get Mad series , Vol. 1

A new series aiming at the Pretty Little Liars sweet spot kicks off.

Bullies run rampant at prep school Bishop DuMaine, ignored by principal Father Uberti. That is, until a group called Don’t Get Mad begins giving the worst offenders their just deserts. No one knows who is in DGM—no one would suspect it’s four very different girls with no apparent ties of friendship. Student body vice president Kitty initially brought together actress Olivia, invisible Margot and rebellious Bree after a freshman year class project, and since then, they’ve successfully neutralized some of the worst offenders at Bishop DuMaine. But then their latest target ends up dead—holding evidence that implicates DGM in his death. With the sadistic Coach Creed and the ’Maine Men, a “school-sanctioned goon squad,” determined to reveal DGM’s members, the team’s bonds begin to fray, especially when they begin receiving anonymous photos that hint at the girls’ secrets. Will they be able to discover the murderer’s identity without revealing their own? That question is regrettably left unanswered. Although some characters are well-rounded—Kitty and Margot and some minor characters—others are less successful. Bree’s rebelliousness exists only to exist, it seems. The plot slowly and inexorably increases the tension, only for the cliffhanger to act as an unwanted pin in the balloon.

A compelling contemporary thriller for readers who don’t mind waiting for Volume 2. (Suspense. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-226085-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.


A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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


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

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