Buoyant writing and wry humor balance the pathos in this powerful debut, a moving tale of friendship as refuge and shield...

FANS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE LIFE

Failed by the institutions and adults who rule their lives, three stressed-out teens rely on their friendship to overcome—or at least survive—abuse, depression, and homophobia.

Having been brutally outed by classmates, Jeremy dreads returning to St. Francis Prep, but at a teacher’s urging, he reluctantly starts an art club. His first recruit is Mira, whose crippling depression last year landed her in a hospital psych ward. There, she met Sebby, who’d been savagely beaten by school homophobes. Their bond became a lifeline for each; now their friendship nourishes Jeremy. Whether it can replace adult support is another matter. Jeremy’s the child of supportive, emotionally mature dads. Mira’s the biracial daughter of a workaholic black lawyer and white stay-at-home mom; her high-achieving sister’s at Harvard. Their high expectations weigh heavily on Mira. Orphaned, openly gay Sebby has endured multiple foster placements. He lacks a safety net. Terrified to return to school, he lies about where he spends his days to his foster mother. Well-intentioned but unfit to parent a gay teen, she threatens to send him to a group home. Constrained by his teacher role, Peter—the adult best-equipped to offer support—can do little as stresses mount. Rounded characters large and small, drawn with insight and empathy, drive the plot.

Buoyant writing and wry humor balance the pathos in this powerful debut, a moving tale of friendship as refuge and shield against a hostile world . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-233175-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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