Enjoyable as a romance but lacking in substance.

READ REVIEW

LIES MY GIRLFRIEND TOLD ME

After her new girlfriend dies unexpectedly, Alix discovers that the relationship was not all she had thought.

The unlikely nature of Swanee’s death—a sudden collapse while running despite a lack of known health concerns—receives oddly little attention. Instead, the focus is on her double life. In her grief, Alix finds Swanee’s cellphone and discovers text messages that lead her to Liana Torres, whom it turns out Swanee was dating in secret alongside Alix. There is dramatic potential between Alix and Liana as the two uncover Swanee’s many lies and manipulations, but it doesn’t really deliver. In fact, the story feels phoned in. A subplot involving Swanee’s troubled sister is poorly fleshed out. A series of text messages Alix sends Liana from Swanee’s phone are regrettable but too seemingly small a transgression for the amount of emphasis placed on them. Alix moves—with very little explanation to readers—from just barely feeling ready to have sex to initiating it almost without thinking. Most unsatisfying is the unquestioned premise that head-over-heels serial monogamy is the only imaginable approach to dating for lesbian teens. Swanee’s mom’s suggestion that her daughter “was too young to be serious about just one person” is treated with as much knee-jerk horror and disgust as Swanee’s deceptions.

Enjoyable as a romance but lacking in substance. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-23497-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more