Next book

LOVE, DECODED

Effortlessly entertaining.

High school student Gigi Wong knows she has what it takes to be the best, so it’s frustrating that no one seems to expect much from her.

Chinese American Gigi’s loving, protective parents set high standards for her older brother, but they are content with their daughter’s simply being herself. Her Great-Aunt Rose, a successful matchmaker training Gigi to continue the family legacy, is hesitant about Gigi’s attempts to digitize her business and advises Gigi to be cautious with using her Matchmaker 3000 app to make client matches. Her best friend, Kyle, who is Chinese and White, assures her that she’s already incredible, but Gigi—a top student at her elite New York prep school, co-editor of the school magazine, and volunteer peer mentor—is determined to prove herself, and she sees an opportunity through a statewide coding contest. Inspired by her Filipino mentee, Etta, who tells her how hard it is to make friends as a transfer student, Gigi develops Quizzlet, an app that matches users with potential friends based on compatibility. This contemporary retelling of Emma aptly shifts the focus of Austen’s well-meaning, occasionally thoughtless protagonist away from romantic meddling and toward personal achievement without losing the spirit of the original novel. The warmth of friendship and family closeness shine through banter-filled dialogue and the characters’ use of food as a love language, with a touch of romance to round out the end.

Effortlessly entertaining. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11755-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

Next book

POWERLESS

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

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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

Close Quickview