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A fun summer read about honesty and making mistakes.

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: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2517-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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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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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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