Overall, a tubular story for readers looking for their next great melodramatic love story.

I LIKE YOU LIKE THIS

A NOVEL

In 1984, one bad trip will completely change the course of Hannah Zandana’s teenage life.

Cumiskey transports her readers back to the 1980s, viewed through the kaleidoscope of big, feathered hair and Swatch watches. The largely white setting and the plot are, like, totally out of a John Hughes movies. And though Cumiskey’s timeline is a little bogus—for example, Beetlejuice came out in 1988—readers should be able to ignore minor flubs as they meet her cast: mean girls Gillian, Leeza, and Taylor tease and fluster Hannah until she feels she needs to prove her cool by scoring some LSD from Deacon, the local heartthrob/rich boy/drug dealer. When Deacon saves Hannah from a bad trip, sparks fly between the bad boy and the quirky girl. While Hannah’s story would be radical in ’84, its strengths may also be its weaknesses. For example, Hannah’s confrontation with Gillian ends when Hannah drops a homophobic slur to silence the mean girl. While this was considered humorous at one time, modern readers may find it jarring for the heroine of a book to use emotional blackmail in order to avoid bullying. Also, the question hangs: will readers get the gnarly ’80s references? These quibbles aside, Hannah’s story is primo, and the surprise twist of the epilogue will have readers stoked with anticipation for a sequel.

Overall, a tubular story for readers looking for their next great melodramatic love story. (Historical fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-292-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

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P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

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Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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