Though not perfect, moving and of interest to teens experiencing similar stresses.


Five teens work on their mental health during four weeks at a wilderness-therapy camp.

Each teen speaks in this novel, revealing his or her individual issues: Stella has anger-management problems and depression; Clarisa has OCD; Andrew suffers from an eating disorder; Mason is a narcissist; and Ben is dissociative—his part of the narration is formatted as a movie script. At Camp Ugunduzi, a pricey therapy camp, the five teens (evidently white save for Asian Clarisa) will hike, meditate, and engage in group and solo talk therapy. While friendships form and romance blossoms among the campers as they create a Safe Space cabin, they’re also working toward progress and dealing with setbacks. Andrew loses it when he gains weight. Clarisa and Ben’s romance hits the rocks. Clarisa and Stella fight when Stella deals her some hard truths. Yet when tragedy (undescribed in the text) occurs, the group draws together to support each other, revealing just how far they’ve come. First-time novelist Yu does a good job of presenting the therapy process, capturing the words therapists use and realistically describing the uncertain arc of recovery. But choosing to stage the tragedy off-page mutes its impact, and the plethora of voices makes it hard to connect with all the characters.

Though not perfect, moving and of interest to teens experiencing similar stresses. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-373-21230-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Seventeen Fiction/Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.


Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

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Angels and devils fight grim wars across the five boroughs.

Fans of A Touch Mortal (2011) are advised to reread before they pick up this sequel, as none of the myriad plot threads— some involving delusional, amnesiac or otherwise unreliable narrators—are revisited for forgetful readers. Instead, volume two leads right into a tangle of names: Eden is living with Az and Jarrod, who works with Zach and befriends Sullivan, and all of them distrust Madeline and hide from Luke while seeking Gabe and ignoring Kristen's worsening mental illness... Somewhere in all of this is a paranormal adventure. Eden and allies are mostly Siders, living undead who remain immortal and forgotten after their suicides. Eden and her beloved Az (the angel Azazel, caught in a limbo between heaven and hell) are seeking Gabe, Az's best friend and the angel who Fell at the conclusion of this series' first volume. Inexplicable politics between Eden and the other Sider leaders prevents them from banding together against a common enemy: Luke, otherwise known as Lucifer. As if that weren't bad enough, Heaven's involved now, and neither celestial nor infernal forces seem to be looking out for the best interest of the Siders. Eden has her hands full keeping Az from Falling the rest of the way to hell, seeking Gabe and hiding her own deterioration.

Chaotic . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200502-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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