A mean-girl story with a big heart and soul.

FROSTED KISSES

Penny, from The Cupcake Queen (2009), endures barbs thrown by her bullying nemesis, Charity, but further trouble emerges when a new exchange student seems bent on stealing Penny’s boyfriend.

Penny's darn busy—when she's not at school, she's working at her mother's cupcake shop or helping her best friend, Tally, with odd jobs in order to raise funds to save the local animal shelter from closing. Meanwhile, her burgeoning relationship with Marcus renders her completely giddy, and she dreams that he'll be her first sweet kiss. But when Penny sees Marcus hanging out with Esmeralda, the gorgeous, new Parisian foreign exchange student, and later with Charity, she falls into worry and uncertainty. And to top it off, her parents are newly divorced, the holidays are approaching, and Penny's dealing with her increasing anger toward her father, who perennially breaks his promises to visit. A number of miniplotlines dilute the story's focus: among others, Penny suffers a concussion, but nothing comes of it save a few missed days of school, and her art teacher's relationship with a visiting artist seems suspiciously close. But as in her first outing, Penny's voice charms; she's keenly observant and wry, balancing surely between young innocence and burgeoning bravery. Readers will cheer the ultimate delivery of a satisfying, heaping dose of justice on the guilty.

A mean-girl story with a big heart and soul. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-79055-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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