This inspiring look at the plight of undomesticated landscape and wildlife nestled in a tender romance is a surprisingly...

WILD HEARTS

From the If Only series , Vol. 4

Brie is used to constant travel; she’s not accustomed to caring passionately about a cause—or a young man.

Brie’s dad is a land developer, so they move from place to place worldwide. Home-schooled, Brie has never made attachments. When she and her parents move to a one-main-street town in Wyoming, the welcome is frosty, as its citizens protest the uprooting of the wild mustangs for the hotel Brie’s dad is building. The loudest opponent is the father of a handsome, kind, cowboy-hatted boy named Logan. This quickly becomes more than a budding romance between Brie and Logan, as they take up the cause to create a sanctuary for the mustangs. She finds within herself a stirring love for the horses and a deep desire to do something good. However, caught in the middle of the heated battle, this is the first time Brie has contradicted her father and the first time she’s fallen in love. Burkhart’s uncluttered prose easily develops both characters and complications, making for a smooth-reading romance. Each chapter is headed with a pithy quote—“Cowboy proverb: The bigger the buckle, the better the cowboy”—lending light wisdom to the tale.

This inspiring look at the plight of undomesticated landscape and wildlife nestled in a tender romance is a surprisingly sweet and resonant story. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61963-258-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers...

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PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING

Seventeen-year-old Jay Reguero searches for the truth about his cousin’s death amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs while on an epic trip back to his native Philippines.

Shocked out of his senioritis slumber when his beloved cousin Jun is killed by the police in the Philippines for presumably using drugs, Jay makes a radical move to spend his spring break in the Philippines to find out the whole story. Once pen pals, Jay hasn’t corresponded with Jun in years and is wracked by guilt at ghosting his cousin. A mixed heritage (his mother is white) Filipino immigrant who grew up in suburban Michigan, Jay’s connection to current-day Philippines has dulled from assimilation. His internal tensions around culture, identity, and languages—as “a spoiled American”—are realistic. Told through a mix of first-person narration, Jun’s letters to Jay, and believable dialogue among a strong, full cast of characters, the result is a deeply emotional story about family ties, addiction, and the complexity of truth. The tender relationship between Jay and Jun is especially notable—as is the underlying commentary about the challenges and nuances between young men and their uncles, fathers, male friends, and male cousins.

Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a young man of color with an earnest desire for the truth. (author’s note, recommended reading) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55491-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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This royal romp comes together for a strong finish.

TOKYO EVER AFTER

A Japanese American teen searches for her father—who turns out to be the crown prince of Japan.

Kind and “remarkably unremarkable,” Izumi Tanaka enjoys the support of her single mother and high school friends in her hometown of Mount Shasta, California. Her grades are “subpar at best,” and she’s been accepted into decent, but not exclusive, colleges. She acknowledges that her love of Real Housewives and dabbling in baking, while relatable, are not exceptional. After searching for her father and discovering the shocking news of his identity, Izumi is invited to Japan to stay with the royal family for two weeks. Dubbed the Lost Butterfly princess, she is swept up in royal life, complete with all its intrigue. The romance of being a princess—complete with a hot, young bodyguard, Akio—quickly dissipates as tabloids, cultural differences, and a serious blunder at the Japanese prime minister’s wedding take their toll. While the action-packed plot keeps pages turning, inconsistencies in Izumi’s voice are distracting, and her character development lacks cohesion. More slow-building tension would have given her romantic encounters with Akio a bigger payoff. However, the novel hits its stride in the second half as Izumi returns to the States and focuses on her personal growth and evolving relationships with each of her parents, developments that are thoughtfully fleshed out.

This royal romp comes together for a strong finish. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76660-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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