A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity.

East Tennessee teens Cash Pruitt and Delaney Doyle met at a support group for kids whose parents struggle with addiction.

Cash has lived with Mamaw and Papaw ever since his mother died. After brilliant Delaney discovers a mold with antibacterial properties in a cave on the Pigeon River, she’s given a full ride to a Connecticut prep school—which she accepts on the condition that Cash be admitted too. While Delaney is eager to go, Cash is reluctant: deeply grounded in the natural beauty of his home, unsure he can keep up academically, and dreading leaving Papaw, whose emphysema is worsening. Traveling from their mostly White, economically distressed town to Middleford Academy, a school filled with global elites, brings measures of disorientation, inspiration, mockery—and true friendship. Cash quickly befriends Alex, a working-class Korean American scholarship student, and they form a tight foursome with Delaney and her wealthy Brazilian roommate, Vi. A poetry class with a teacher who becomes a trusted mentor becomes a lifeline—and an anchor to his roots—as Cash struggles with homesickness, attraction to Vi, and tension with Delaney. In writing suffused with raw emotion, Zentner shows respectful care for his characters; natural dialogue and a strongly developed sense of place demonstrate their evolution. The beauty of the language will invite readers to linger over sentences that speak to deep truths.

A brilliant treasure of a book that holds up a mirror to the best parts of our humanity. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-2024-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021


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


Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting.

Two talented chess players challenge each other on and off the board in bestselling author Hazelwood’s YA debut.

Eighteen-year-old Mallory Greenleaf is no longer interested in chess, not since her hypercompetitive dad left—the game calls up painful memories. But she grudgingly agrees to play in a charity tournament as a favor to best friend Easton Peña. After she unexpectedly beats current world champion Nolan Sawyer, she’s offered a fellowship that will prepare her to play professionally. Even though Mallory doesn’t want to play anymore, she needs the money that winning would provide; she’s delayed college to support her family, since her mother is chronically ill with rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to work regularly. The more time she spends with Nolan, the more Mallory comes to like and respect him—and the more time she spends playing chess, the more she remembers how much she loved it. But when she learns that Nolan has been keeping a big secret from her, she isn’t sure if she’ll be able to move past it to build a relationship with him. Filled with the author’s signature humor, well-developed characters, and realistic conflicts, plus the fully realized setting of competitive chess, this captivating romance will delight teen readers as well as Hazelwood’s adult fans. Mallory and Nolan are both cued white; there is some racial diversity among the supporting cast. Mallory and Easton are queer.

Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593619919

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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