A heady, page-flipping romance.


Skylar’s post-graduation mission to get out of tiny Creek View, California, is sidetracked by her mom’s downward spiral into alcohol abuse and by hot hunk Josh Mitchell’s return from a tour in Afghanistan minus a leg.

A collage artist intent on getting to San Francisco State, Skylar’s home situation is both motivation to go and a ball and chain that keeps her from leaving. Skylar’s two besties, Chris and Dylan, are unable to help. Chris is busy hankering after Dylan when he’s not focusing on college in Boston in the fall, and Dylan’s baby is taking up almost as much of her time as his daddy, Jesse, does. Part-time work at the Paradise Motel believably brings Josh and Skylar together to connect and flirt, observed by their beloved and unbelievably undemanding boss. Ominous moody moments contrast with the happy, soaring—and steamy—times, and of course they are followed by the inevitable, completely devastating low. Demetrios (Something Real, 2014) again focuses on timely issues, interspersing Skylar’s account with short chapters in Josh’s anguished voice that relive his painful wartime memories. Skylar is almost preternaturally naïve, an abstemious virgin surrounded by hard-partying, foulmouthed, slur-slinging classmates all too conscious of their limited futures and all too willing to try to forget it temporarily with bad sex.

A heady, page-flipping romance. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9795-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.


A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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