A fun summer read about honesty and making mistakes.

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CHASING LUCKY

A determined 17-year-old has an explosive summer.

Josie Saint-Martin isn’t happy thanks to the facts that she’s never lived in one location long enough to make connections; her single, 36-year-old bookstore manager mom isn’t capable of responsible parenting or communication; and her fashion photographer father, whom she doesn’t really know, won’t take her on as an apprentice until she proves her worth. Josie has a plan for her future, and the last thing she needs is to test the infamous Saint-Martin love curse with former childhood bestie Lucky Karras, who’s now the hot bad boy in Beauty, their gossipy hometown where they’ve returned to live. Her cousin Evie drags her to a party celebrating the start of summer and hosted by Evie’s ex-boyfriend, a descendent of the town’s founder, who spreads vicious rumors about Josie. In a fit of rage, Josie commits a regrettable action, landing her and Lucky in a holding cell—with Lucky taking the fall. As summer progresses, Josie uncovers long-buried family secrets, learns why Lucky lied to the police, and falls in love. Bennett’s detailed descriptions add to the lore of Josie’s small, historic New England harbor town, giving readers a crystal-clear sense of the setting. The brisk pace and Josie’s realistic, inviting voice will make readers want to dive into the story and love these flawed characters. Josie and Lucky are white; Evie’s late father was black.

A fun summer read about honesty and making mistakes. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2517-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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