This surprisingly poignant comedy about teen-parent communication has enough bite to pique the interest of any teenager...

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DON'T CALL ME BABY

Usually it’s a kid’s use of social media that is a problem….

Using the pseudonym Mommylicious, Imogene’s mother is a prolific professional blogger, continually blogging about her unfortunate daughter’s every cute smile and dirty diaper to her large online audience since she was a baby. Now that she is 15, however, “Babylicious” is beginning to resent the fact that every intimate detail of her daily life is subject to public scrutiny. Ragged at by her schoolmates, embarrassed in the boyfriend department and convinced that her mom doesn’t care what she really thinks, the formerly submissive girl rebels. Imogene and her BFF Sage, whose hard-line, vegan health-nut mother is also a blogger, decide that their moms are over-the-top and plot revenge. Inspired by a homework assignment, the girls talk back about their experiences and feelings through their own blogs, causing huge consternation in the mommy world. Imogene wilts under her mother’s disapproval but is backed up by golf-obsessed Grandma Hope, who dispenses wisdom and helps her to stand up for herself. As the witty story unfolds, mommies and daughters learn to give each other some space and that the Internet is no substitute for real-life experience. Heasley delivers her message without compromising frothy fun.

This surprisingly poignant comedy about teen-parent communication has enough bite to pique the interest of any teenager having trouble interacting meaningfully with her parents. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-220852-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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