A short, slice-of-life–style story that fans of literary fiction will find satisfying.

WATCHING TRAFFIC

An unexpected romance opens up new possibilities for a young woman who's just graduated from high school in this debut novel set in small-town Ontario.

Wry, smart, 18-year-old Emily Robinson is already missing her best friends, Lincoln and Melissa, who are soon bound for Australia and Halifax respectively. She's spent years trying to live down the notoriety that came from being found covered in blood in a motel room with her mother's dead body after she committed suicide when Emily was 3. When she meets a handsome newcomer to town, Tyler, she glimpses ways that she might rewrite both her past and her future. The tightly woven friendship among Emily, Lincoln, and Melissa brims with funny dialogue and is convincingly complicated in ways both platonic and not; the trio's habit of drinking heavily together often only exacerbates these issues. Emily's attraction to Tyler is magnetic and often steamy, but, sweetly and realistically, it’s also more than just physical, which will have readers rooting for them. It's made clear that one character is gay, and though there is little specific mention of their ethnic backgrounds, the descriptions of the appearances of several of the main characters imply that they are white.

A short, slice-of-life–style story that fans of literary fiction will find satisfying. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-843-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

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

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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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