Still, Echols writes surely enough that romance fans will enjoy it.


From the Superlatives series

A road map for the rest of her life suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing for Kaye when she realizes class clown Sawyer might not be joking with her.

Kaye and her boyfriend, Aidan, have dated since ninth grade, and they're planning to stay together once they go to Columbia to study finance. That's all Kaye has been working toward, spurred on by her ambitious, driven mother. But there’s always been something about Sawyer, the mascot who flirts with Kaye whenever she's cheering. And student-council vice president Kaye knows a secret: she and Sawyer have been voted “Perfect Couple That Never Was” for the yearbook senior superlatives. Their friends keep throwing them together, but Kaye and Sawyer never seem to get on the same page, even after Aidan breaks up with Kaye. Is it because she's black and Sawyer’s white? Could it be because she's got the Ivy League in her future and he doesn't? Kaye doesn't know—but she realizes she wants to throw her plan out the window even as her mother forbids her to date Sawyer. Will love find a way? The meandering plot and one-dimensional villain pull this third volume in the Superlatives series down; it’s hard to imagine what Kaye found to like in the poisonous Aidan. They detract from the book’s positives, such as the interracial romance and frank look at teen relationships.

Still, Echols writes surely enough that romance fans will enjoy it. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7452-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Several yards short of a touchdown.


A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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