Lightweight fluff, a virtual beach read for cold days and long nights.

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FAME, FATE, AND THE FIRST KISS

In this companion to Love, Life, and the List (2018), Lacey Barnes, 17, gets a shot at stardom when she’s cast as the female lead in an indie film.

OK, it’s a zombie movie, but Lacey’s co-star is Grant James, 19, a genuine action-hero star who’s been looking for redemption since vicious reviews of his last film went viral. Lacey knows she’s lucky to get this opportunity, even if it means leaving her Central Coast home, friends, and school to live with her father in his cramped, two-bedroom apartment. He’s even hired a straight-laced peer tutor, Donavan Lake, to see she does her independent-study homework. More challenges await on the set, especially the absence of chemistry between her and Grant (Lacey’s zombie makeup doesn’t help). Co-star Amanda plays coach, telling her to imagine she’s kissing a guy she likes, difficult for the career-driven Lacey until she realizes she’s attracted to Donavan. Mishaps on the set proliferate until Lacey suspects sabotage, although the target is unclear—is it Lacey or the entire enterprise? The snippets of screenplay provided, too blunt and juvenile for satire, are wince-inducing misfires, as is a climactic scene in which journalistic ethics are casually thrown under the bus. While far-fetched plotting occasionally weakens narrative plausibility, the lively, likable characters—Lacey especially—sustain reader interest. Amanda has dark skin, and the other main characters are white.

Lightweight fluff, a virtual beach read for cold days and long nights. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-267579-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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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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