While the pieces of this novel are all handled competently, they don't quite mesh. (Romance. 14-18)

AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER

During a summer at the Jersey shore, a young woman asks questions about loss, love, and music.

At 15, Quinn lost her best friend, Lynn, in a car accident—an accident she thinks is her fault. Now 18, Quinn is staying with her aunt, trying to come up with a life plan at her mother’s insistence. Yet Quinn can’t seem to think beyond the end of the summer. Meeting local musician Malcolm, who became addicted to drugs after a car crash killed two of his band members, makes Quinn start thinking about what she wants. She agrees to play drums on Malcolm’s demo, and they begin a relationship—a dangerous one, since Quinn can’t help wanting to save Malcolm. There are plenty of people in Quinn’s life, such as her aunt, who tell her to put herself first. Now she will have to decide whether to take that advice or live for today by joining Malcolm on tour. All major characters are white. Whether it’s due to the lack of sparks between Quinn and Malcolm or the lack of power in the retrospective view of Quinn’s problems, the individual notes do not fit together to form a harmonious whole.

While the pieces of this novel are all handled competently, they don't quite mesh. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5715-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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