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THE LOVE SONG OF IVY K. HARLOWE

A fast-paced, offbeat LGBTQ+ love story.

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A lesbian teen has to learn the hard way that an expected happily-ever-after ending may not come to pass in this coming-of-age novel.

Teenage Andie has always loved Ivy Harlowe. The two have been best friends for years, and even though Ivy, who’s also gay, never showed any romantic interest in her, Andie just assumed they would someday end up together—that if she just waited long enough, Ivy would realize that she’d always been there for her. That’s how it works in the romance novels she reads, anyway. One night, when the girls are at their usual club, Ivy hooks up with a bisexual stranger, which isn’t unusual. But then that stranger, Dot, starts hanging around—visiting Ivy, coming by for dinner. Andie knows how Ivy works, and she never lets a one-night stand hang around for additional nights. If that wasn’t enough for Andie to deal with, the strip club that her family owns may have to shut down, and Elizabeth, a gorgeous older woman, starts to show some unexpected interest in her. For the first time, Andie has no idea what might lie in her future—and she’s unsure how to handle it. Moskowitz’s novel is an unusual love story in that it’s more about loving oneself than another person. The brisk book features a diverse cast of various ethnicities, sexual orientations, and living arrangements; Andie’s friends Melody and Diana are together and in love and also in an open relationship. Ivy could very easily have come across as a villain in a story like this, as she doesn’t love Andie the way that Andie wants; however, the author does a fantastic job of making all of the major characters relatable and difficult to dislike. The book, though published by a YA imprint, definitely has more of a new-adult vibe, and the frank sexual discussion may not be suitable for younger teens.

A fast-paced, offbeat LGBTQ+ love story.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64-937049-5

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2021

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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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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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