Death is all around 17-year-old Richie Casey. Diagnosed with cancer, he’s spending his final days in hospice care in upstate...

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SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU

When you’re surrounded by death, anything can look like a good opportunity.

Death is all around 17-year-old Richie Casey. Diagnosed with cancer, he’s spending his final days in hospice care in upstate New York. He’s weak. He can’t eat. He’s also a wiseass with a biting sense of humor, and he’s persuasive enough to convince even the toughest nurse to let him do what he wants. Seamon’s debut for teens follows Richie over 10 days leading up to his 18th birthday. His ne’er-do-well uncle breaks him out for a wild, cathartic, drunken, lust-filled night on the town in a wheelchair to celebrate Cabbage Night (the night before Halloween). He pursues his girlfriend down the hall, Sylvie, who is also dying from cancer. Each character is vividly drawn, with a sharp, memorable voice that readers will love and remember. While there is plenty of death to go around, the novel’s tone shifts from dark to light when opportunity presents itself to narrator Richie. Both the characters and readers empathize with his urge to break out and experience life despite his constraints and the consequences that might befall him. His ups and downs are what power the plot, and readers come to learn that Ritchie isn’t full of joie de vivre. Instead, he’s full of fight, and that’s what makes him so admirable and memorable. A fresh, inspiring story about death and determination. (Fiction. 14 & up) .

A fresh, inspiring story about death and determination(Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61620-260-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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