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A delightfully lively rom-com.

Southern California high school junior Sharlot Citra had everything planned out for her first time.

What she did not plan for was her mom walking in on her and her boyfriend. Meanwhile in Jakarta, George Clooney Tanuwijaya, son of the country’s second richest family, is caught by his father in a similarly racy solo situation. George’s dad and sister decide he needs a girlfriend and set up an online profile for him. The perfect match comes in the form of one Sharlot Citra—or at least Sharlot’s mom, who’s likewise committing a catfishing scheme to set up her daughter with a respectable boy. Mama has whisked Sharlot off for her first trip to Indonesia to spend the summer learning how to jadi orang, or succeed as an adult. Horrified but resigned, the teens reluctantly meet, and an awkward coffee date spirals into a fake relationship for the press; George is the public face of an etiquette app for teen boys that his family’s company is launching. Can a less-than-honest beginning lead to genuine connection? Sutanto’s novel is full of hijinks, humor, and heart. Beyond the fake online personas are two teens with lots to connect over. Sutanto gives dimension to the secondary characters, exploring interpersonal expectations and misperceptions. Readers are swept along as Sharlot discovers her mother’s home country, including naming quirks, dynamite coffee, layered history, and a conservative social climate. Most characters are Chinese Indonesian; biracial Sharlot is White and Chinese Indonesian.

A delightfully lively rom-com. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43397-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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