Enjoyable light romance with emotional baggage—call it an early winter beach read.


A snowstorm on New Year’s Eve closes Denver International Airport, canceling flights and stranding passengers; for Ryn, immobilized by grief since the death of her best friend, Lottie, a year ago, getting stuck might be just what she needs to move on.

Ryn has a meet-cute with Xander, a fellow stranded passenger and the attractive, biracial son of celebrity psychologists (white mom, African-American dad), when they accidentally exchange cellphones. Once the white teen has verified her phone still contains Lottie’s last, unread message, the two wander the airport, eat, talk, separate, and meet up again. In between, Ryn rescues Troy, a 13-year-old white child prodigy and Harvard grad student who’s on a mission to locate clues said to be secret code predicting an Illuminati-generated apocalypse. The three attend an impromptu party in an airport hotel room that their airport-employee hosts, Siri (black) and Jimmy (white), have decorated creatively with airport gleanings. As night wears on, Ryn and Xander probe each other’s secrets with interesting results. An assault of flashbacks to Ryn’s friendship with Lottie weighs down the briskly entertaining plot. Unlike the lively, multicultural airport employees, denizens, and strandees, Lottie’s a stock character, the wild white party girl, maddening but lovable, beautiful and rich, now tragically deceased. Readers, like grounded travelers, are stuck in the past with Lottie or, later, in glum therapy sessions with Ryn when they’d rather be checking out Illuminati clues with Troy or playing Stranded Passenger Bingo with Siri and Jimmy.

Enjoyable light romance with emotional baggage—call it an early winter beach read. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9918-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.


Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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