FINDING MR. BRIGHTSIDE

Two teens embark on a romantic relationship in the wake of their parents' deaths.

Even though they live across the street from each other, Abram and Juliette have never been close. But their parents were, particularly Abram's dad and Juliette's mom. The pair indulged in an affair that ended with a bloody car wreck and two broken homes. Months later, the teens are still coping in the best ways they can, but an unexpected encounter at the local CVS and the ensuing romance jump-starts their recoveries. It's a high-concept premise that the author fumbles by leaning on frequent false starts in lieu of actual drama. Just when the heat's about to kick in, something happens to derail the young couple's journey, an effect that will surely infuriate readers that just want these two kids to get together already. This is, after all, a tale of star-crossed lovers that actually has the temerity to name the female lead Juliette, and these sorts of stories come with certain expectations. Unfortunately, all the drama here is internal, as there are no external forces keeping these kids apart. Abram's mom is a stereotypical supportive suburbanite. She fares better than Juliette's father, who might as well be a ghost. Neither of these characters says or does anything that affects the narrative, nor does anyone else but the two leads.

Deeply unsatisfying. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9257-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries.

THE BETRAYED

Lady Hollis flees her country after her new husband is killed.

In The Betrothed (2020), Hollis fell in love with Silas, the son of an Isolten family who sought asylum from their cruel king, and chose him over her intended match, King Jameson. Since Silas, his father, his brothers, and her parents have been killed, she decides to travel to Isolte with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Formerly primarily interested in dresses, dancing, and romance, Hollis now proves her mettle. Etan, Silas’ cousin, arrives to escort the family, and he clashes with Hollis from the moment they meet. The society they live in, modeled after medieval Europe, with castles, tournaments, kings, queens, and nobles, generally follows traditional gender roles, but Hollis sometimes breaks through the accepted boundaries. When Etan wants to lead a revolt against his own King Quinten, who is just one of the novel’s major betrayers, Hollis uses her wits to get the evidence needed to convince others that he is guilty of crimes against his own people. She bravely returns to Coroa to confront King Jameson when she finds out that he, too, has carried out unspeakable crimes. Hollis and Etan’s verbal wars are fun, predictably leading to love, but the political intrigue sometimes drags the novel down. Characters default to White.

Fans of the previous entry will enjoy following the story of a young woman who changes the fates of two countries. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-229166-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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