A light examination of the intersection of two disabilities with family dynamics, with a sweet splash of page-turning...

ON THE SPECTRUM

A teenage girl with an eating disorder spends a summer abroad with her autistic brother.

Sixteen-year-old Clara lives in New York City with her mother, a beautiful and famous ballerina. From when the white girl was in preschool on, her mother has enforced draconian rules about food, and as Clara ages, her obsessive thoughts manifest themselves into orthorexia, a disorder defined by obsession with healthy diet and behaviors. With her new diagnosis and following an overblown social media kerfuffle, Clara decides to spend the summer in Paris with her estranged father and autistic 6-year-old brother, Alastair (both white). While there, she meets Michel, a handsome pastry chef with light-brown skin, whom she immediately falls for. At times, Clara’s disorder is underplayed: who could argue with wanting to eat healthy? However, when she goes on a romantic dinner date with Michel at an upscale Parisian restaurant, it becomes glaringly obvious how pervasive and destructive orthorexia can be when she is nearly paralyzed at their table. Many of Clara’s relationships—with her parents, with her brother, and with Michel—feel tidily one-dimensional, but for those willing to overlook this, there is just enough Parisian-tinted romance and low-caliber angst to make serious topics feel breezy and approachable.

A light examination of the intersection of two disabilities with family dynamics, with a sweet splash of page-turning melodrama. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77260-042-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Second Story Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A sweet, undemanding summer read.

SUNKISSED

The summer before her senior year, 17-year-old Avery unexpectedly finds romance on a family vacation.

Avery’s family spends their summers away from Los Angeles, enjoying the outdoors; this year it will be two months at a remote resort in the California woods. Her 15-year-old sister, Lauren, an outgoing video blogger, is distraught by the camp’s lack of internet access while go-with-the-flow Avery is just hoping for no drama, upset after having found out her best friend kissed her ex-boyfriend. An initial miscommunication makes things tense with handsome camp staff member Brooks—until Avery agrees to help him write songs for a band competition in exchange for his helping her step out of her comfort zone. Of course, staff aren’t supposed to fraternize with campers, which leads to much sneaking around, though Avery and her sister attend several staff parties thanks to befriending lifeguard Maricela and drummer Kai. Avery learns to find her voice, both metaphorically—she feels her parents don’t take her seriously—and literally, as she must overcome her stage fright when asked to step in for the vocalist in Brooks’ band when they compete in the festival. Avery’s complicated relationship with her family feels underdeveloped, though the love story with Brooks hits all the right notes. Fans of West will enjoy this watered-down Dirty Dancing tale, with its swoony romance and uncomplicated plot. Most characters are White; Maricela is implied Latinx, and Kai is Polynesian.

A sweet, undemanding summer read. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17626-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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