There is enough weirdness in this lighthearted road trip to keep it entertaining, although there is not quite enough depth...

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A road trip from Chicago to Portland, Ore., in a Chevy Eurosport with Dad’s credit card for expenses makes for a mildly enjoyable summer read.

The trip’s not really about Lillian’s stated need to find Penny, who might have faked her own kidnapping. No, it’s more about spending time with best friend Josh, who has never shown any romantic interest in Lillian, and enjoying a little freedom after graduation from high school and before the reality of college. Both Josh and Lillian enjoy the peculiar, and they aren’t afraid to indulge their whims. As they proceed from the House on the Rock to various museums and roadside highlights such as Wall Drug, the two find themselves struggling with Lillian sexual attraction for the uninterested Josh. Through it all, Josh and Lillian manage to let their quest for Penny, who is less a friend than an obligation, keep them on the road and moving forward. The dialogue sounds true without being crude and repetitive, and readers will enjoy narrator Lillian's sharp wit. Credibility issues—the lack of financial limitations, miraculously blasé parents and the relative lack of interest from the authorities regarding Penny’s whereabouts—keep this closer to fantasy than anything deeper. 

There is enough weirdness in this lighthearted road trip to keep it entertaining, although there is not quite enough depth or suspense to make it rise above the average . (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-64346-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

From the All the Stars and Teeth series , Vol. 1

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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