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12 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU CRASH AND BURN

After his television-celebrity dad’s death, 16-year-old Hercules Martino is sent from his Upper West Side home to Baltimore...

Homeless dudes, hot pizza girls, tanning salons and horse-stable make-out sessions punctuate a summer in Baltimore.

After his television-celebrity dad’s death, 16-year-old Hercules Martino is sent from his Upper West Side home to Baltimore to spend the last two weeks of summer with his Uncle Anthony. Upon arrival, Hercules is handed a list of things he must accomplish during his stay, and despite his resistance, he somehow manages to stumble into each and every one of them. The one he deems most important finds him chasing a lost copy of Winnie-the-Pooh for a hot college girl and sets him on a trajectory to complete the other tasks. Although Hercules and Anthony have never hit it off, their hilarious “man speak” insult-based dialogue intimately suggests that a connection does exist between them. Told in short, near-poetic vignettes, the chapters of Proimos’ first teen novel are packed with plenty of small details and genuine moments of ridiculous humor. Often these chapters are too short and lack connective tissue, however, which results in confusing passages of time, odd jumps in plotting and, most often, a longing for more details. Still, readers will relish Hercules’ smart-alecky, slacker sense of humor and his dogged determination to get the girl.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-595-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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