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Light, sweet, and a little salty: just beachy.

Another linked but stand-alone Nantucket romance reunites readers with the Barbanel family.

The Jewish Barbanels, like modern-day Bridgertons, provide fodder for any number of romantic adventures; this time they’ve provided a perfect foil for Jordan Edelman, who wears black lace and fishnets (even on Nantucket) and lives life fully. She flirts hard, falls harder, and cries hardest whenever the inevitable breakup comes. Jordan manages to be both uncomplicated and a muddle of messy emotions: She worries about her single, widowed father and how he’ll cope with her impending departure for college, she struggles with resenting the much-lauded Ethan Barbanel (her father’s summer research assistant, whom Jordan has never met but feels has taken her place as the perfect child), and she has questions about the late mother she never really knew. After a meet-sexy with a stranger who of course turns out to be Ethan, this novel settles into a story of self-discovery peppered with great banter, a minor historical mystery (an initially exposition-heavy but eventually intriguing narrative about underacknowledged women in STEM), and a lot of Jordan getting out of her own way. The Summer of Lost Letters (2021) established the Barbanels as being Sephardic Jews; less-religious Jordan is implied Ashkenazi. Judaism runs through their lives naturally and without fanfare.

Light, sweet, and a little salty: just beachy. (author’s note) (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9780593617328

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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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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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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