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FINDING HER EDGE

An engaging read for sports fans and romance lovers alike.

Elite competition and family legacy take center stage in this ice-rink romance.

To 16-year-old ice skater Adriana Russo, daughter of Olympic gold medalist parents, the spotlight is simply part of life at Boston’s prestigious, family-owned Kellynch Rink. Her older sister, Elisa, stars in a reality TV show with their dad and is on her way to compete in the Beijing Olympics. Maria, her younger sister, is embroiled in relationship drama with her figure skating partner, Charlie Monroe. Meanwhile, Adriana and her ice dancing partner, Brayden Elliott, are preparing for the Junior World Championships in Paris. Enter Freddie O’Connell, former crush, ice dance partner, and best friend, and Adriana has a lot more on her mind than perfecting her routine. Complicating things further is her fictitious romance with Brayden that is vaulting them to social media fame. Behind the glamour, though, is the overwhelming debt created by her father’s lavish spending since the death of her mother four years earlier and the pressure Adriana feels to help keep the family afloat financially. Strained family dynamics and setbacks on the ice add to the obstacles that threaten to distract Adriana from her goals. Woven throughout the story are behind-the-scenes looks into the world of competitive skating and the all-encompassing commitment required and physical demands the athletes face daily. Adriana and most other central characters read as White; Charlie and his family are Black.

An engaging read for sports fans and romance lovers alike. (Romance. 12-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35036-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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NEVER FALL DOWN

Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers...

A harrowing tale of survival in the Killing Fields.

The childhood of Arn Chorn-Pond has been captured for young readers before, in Michelle Lord and Shino Arihara's picture book, A Song for Cambodia (2008). McCormick, known for issue-oriented realism, offers a fictionalized retelling of Chorn-Pond's youth for older readers. McCormick's version begins when the Khmer Rouge marches into 11-year-old Arn's Cambodian neighborhood and forces everyone into the country. Arn doesn't understand what the Khmer Rouge stands for; he only knows that over the next several years he and the other children shrink away on a handful of rice a day, while the corpses of adults pile ever higher in the mango grove. Arn does what he must to survive—and, wherever possible, to protect a small pocket of children and adults around him. Arn's chilling history pulls no punches, trusting its readers to cope with the reality of children forced to participate in murder, torture, sexual exploitation and genocide. This gut-wrenching tale is marred only by the author's choice to use broken English for both dialogue and description. Chorn-Pond, in real life, has spoken eloquently (and fluently) on the influence he's gained by learning English; this prose diminishes both his struggle and his story.

Though it lacks references or suggestions for further reading, Arn's agonizing story is compelling enough that many readers will seek out the history themselves. (preface, author's note) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-173093-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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RADIO SILENCE

A smart, timely outing.

Two teens connect through a mysterious podcast in this sophomore effort by British author Oseman (Solitaire, 2015).

Frances Janvier is a 17-year-old British-Ethiopian head girl who is so driven to get into Cambridge that she mostly forgoes friendships for schoolwork. Her only self-indulgence is listening to and creating fan art for the podcast Universe City, “a…show about a suit-wearing student detective looking for a way to escape a sci-fi, monster-infested university.” Aled Last is a quiet white boy who identifies as “partly asexual.” When Frances discovers that Aled is the secret creator of Universe City, the two embark on a passionate, platonic relationship based on their joint love of pop culture. Their bond is complicated by Aled’s controlling mother and by Frances’ previous crush on Aled’s twin sister, Carys, who ran away last year and disappeared. When Aled’s identity is accidently leaked to the Universe City fandom, he severs his relationship with Frances, leaving her questioning her Cambridge goals and determined to win back his affection, no matter what the cost. Frances’ narration is keenly intelligent; she takes mordant pleasure in using an Indian friend’s ID to get into a club despite the fact they look nothing alike: “Gotta love white people.” Though the social-media–suffused plot occasionally lags, the main characters’ realistic relationship accurately depicts current issues of gender, race, and class.

A smart, timely outing. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-233571-5

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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