An engaging and spicy romance that targets sports fans but with a well-developed arc suitable for aficionados of YA love...

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OFF THE ICE

From the Juniper Falls series , Vol. 1

In a small Minnesota town where life centers on hockey, a past trauma binds two childhood friends together, eventually leading to a close relationship in this YA novel.

Tate Tanley finds his identity in Juniper Falls defined by his father’s legacy. Keith Tanley led the high school hockey team to the 1994 state championship, and no matter how good Tate is in his own right, he is always measured against his dad. But everyone in town who reveres his father doesn’t realize he is a violent drunk who once broke Tate’s arm. There was only one witness, Claire O’Connor, Tate’s older sister’s best friend. Claire and Tate have kept the secret for over a year; she left town to pursue her dream of studying performance at Northwestern University, and he finished high school. But Claire returns to town when her father, Davin, becomes severely ill and he needs help running the family business (“the coolest hockey bar in the state of Minnesota, famous for the walleye horseshoe”). When the two friends meet again, Tate is no longer the awkward kid brother (“When did Tate Tanley get such a deep voice? And when did he start rescuing girls from drunk creepers in bars?” Claire muses). And Claire now seems within Tate’s reach. They’re both battling personal demons, but maybe together they can confront adversity and become stronger than if they stayed apart. Cross (Chasing Truth, 2016, etc.) has an extensive background in the world of sports that shows in her depictions of the town’s reverence for hockey, a team’s dedication, and the complex rules that govern college recruitment of athletes. But the book’s biggest strength is also its greatest weakness: readers who are not hockey lovers will experience periods of boredom when entire chapters focus on a game. But fans of YA romance should find the sweet and sexy courtship between Tate and Claire appealing as they move beyond their shared childhoods to see each other as maturing adults and potential objects of love and desire. Their relationship path is exceedingly realistic, fraught with the tensions of abuse and illness, rather than just another superficial liaison.

An engaging and spicy romance that targets sports fans but with a well-developed arc suitable for aficionados of YA love stories.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63375-655-7

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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