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THE GEOGRAPHY OF LOST THINGS

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman will enjoy this tender story.

Eighteen-year-old Ali Collins must reckon with her complicated history with her rolling stone father on an eventful road trip with her ex-boyfriend.

With their house about to be repossessed, curly-haired brunette Ali and her mother have all but given up on being able to stay in their home. While packing up to move, Ali learns that her father has passed away and left his beloved 1968 Firebird convertible as her inheritance. The value of the car shocks her and immediately appears to be the answer to all her problems...that is until she realizes that she must trek hundreds of miles north along the Pacific coast to deliver the car to an eager buyer. The last thing Ali wants to do is to complete the drive with her strikingly handsome, lying ex-boyfriend Nico—but he’s the only person she knows who can drive a stick shift. Ali’s internal and external journeys lead her to come to terms with both her late father and her old flame. This is a solid, highly-consumable coming-of-age story, easily devoured in one sitting and bringing with it all the comforts of a cozy, predictable romance. Brody (The Chaos of Standing Still, 2017, etc.) places the reader in picturesque settings with a cast of familiar characters in this road-trip narrative. Ali and Nico are white.

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman will enjoy this tender story. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9921-7

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

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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