A middle-of-the-road retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.

THE CODE FOR LOVE AND HEARTBREAK

High school senior Emma Woodhouse, co-president of the coding club, is all about the numbers.

After Emma’s outgoing sister leaves for college on the other side of the country, Emma is forced to survive high school without her. She doesn’t have any friends besides George—who also happens to be her coding club co-president. Numbers make sense to Emma but not people, and her inexperience with relationships leads her to react insensitively to others, making her come off at times as dense and unfeeling. Emma is the last person one would suspect to create a dating app, as she’s never had a boyfriend and has no interest in one. So she surprises everyone when she writes The Code for Love to enter in the New Jersey state coding competition. While Emma thinks she can quantify love, other members of the coding club aren’t so sure she’ll succeed. At times dismissive toward those around her, Emma experiences growth throughout the novel by making friends and learning to stand up for herself. But when the couples the app matches start breaking up and she begins developing romantic feelings herself, Emma must come to terms with how complicated love can be no matter what her algorithm says. Insufficient character development leaves readers longing for greater depth and feeling a lack of investment in the outcomes of the pairings. Most characters are White. Two love matches, mentioned briefly, are same-sex couples.

A middle-of-the-road retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-09059-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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