A poignant reminder that love is not always enough.

IMAGINE US HAPPY

Two teens struggling with mental illness fall in love, and it doesn’t end well.

Every day is a challenge for Stella Canavas—likely the same Stella from Yu’s debut novel, Four Weeks, Five People (2017)—who lives with depression. Her resolutions for junior year include hanging out with her best friends, escaping her parents’ arguments, listening to her therapist, and accepting people more. On the first day of classes, Stella is captivated by senior Kevin Miller, who is passionate about philosophy, longs to attend Columbia University, and also lives with depression. Stella feels as though she’s found someone who understands her, and after some serious discussion, they begin dating. Everything seems so perfect, but perfect often turns to tears and recriminations in an instant. As their relationship progresses, Stella’s grades slip, she distances herself from her friends, and she skips therapy sessions. The smallest disagreements between Stella and Kevin escalate to shouting matches that leave Stella feeling too exhausted and broken to pick up the pieces. Stella recounts their relationship in a nonlinear style, beginning her story with the end (their last fight) and scattering memories throughout. Yu genuinely portrays how the initial magic of a new relationship can spiral into something toxic and have a profound impact on one’s mental health. Characters are assumed white except for Stella’s friend Lin, who is Chinese-American.

A poignant reminder that love is not always enough. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-335-01536-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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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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