Readers will be moved by Maddie and Ivan's deep, enduring friendship.

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AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Two friends grapple with parental pressures and neglect as they struggle to take control of their lives the summer following graduation.

Maddie and Ivan have lived their whole lives in their coastal Canadian town of Bear Harbour. Though Maddie lives in a warm and loving home with her two dads, Ivan has been stuck with Des, his barely functioning, alcoholic father, since his mother left 10 years before. The two white friends spend their days surfing while Maddie contemplates her future—to attend university to satisfy the expectations of her supportive yet overbearing parents or to find her own way as an artist. Meanwhile, Ivan seems to be stuck in the precarious present; as Des starts to act ever more irresponsibly, Ivan feels obligated to clean up his messes while hiding Des' problems from the community. When Maddie begins to catch on that all is not well in Ivan's home, she is desperate to help him without betraying his trust, and she struggles to understand why Ivan cannot leave Des behind and move on with his life. As related in alternating first-person chapters, the friendship depicted between the two is tender and authentic. A strong, palpable sense of place anchors the story as Maddie and Ivan teeter on the precipice of independence.

Readers will be moved by Maddie and Ivan's deep, enduring friendship. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1062-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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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 unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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