A pleasant romance hindered by some curious choices.

WHAT TO SAY NEXT

Opposites attract after tragedy strikes.

Autistic white teen David Drucker spends every lunch period eating alone. When Indian-American popular girl Kit Lowell joins him one day she’s just looking for a quiet place to sit. It’s been one month since Kit’s father, a white dentist, died in a terrible car accident, but Kit is still flailing. As the two teens get to know one another and eat lunch together each day, they find themselves bringing out their own best qualities. Slowly but surely, romance blooms. There’s a warmth and ease to their relationship that the author captures effortlessly. Each chapter alternates perspective between Kit and David, and each one is fully rendered. The supporting characters are less well served, particularly Kit’s first-generation-immigrant mother. There are two major complications in Kit’s story, both involving her workaholic mother, and the lack of development defuses some potential fireworks. The central relationship is so charming and engaging that readers will tolerate the adequate tertiary characters. Less tolerable is a late-in-the-game reveal about Dr. Lowell’s accident that shifts the novel’s tone to a down note that juxtaposes poorly with everything that came before. The author pulls out in the final few pages, but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

A pleasant romance hindered by some curious choices. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53568-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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