A sweet reminder that family extends beyond the bounds of blood.

THE PEOPLE WE CHOOSE

Surprising news changes a young woman’s life.

Nothing exciting happens in rural Green Woods, Pennsylvania, and Calliope Silversmith wouldn’t have it any other way. She has the loving guidance of her mothers, Mama and Mimmy, and a siblinglike camaraderie with lifelong best friends Ginger and Noah. Levelheaded Calliope has never been in love and has successfully stuck with her no-dating-before-college rule. Then Max moves in next door. The teens have an instant rapport filled with easy banter—and Calliope’s rule goes out the window. While many almost-18-year-olds are excited to vote or get their first tattoo, Calliope makes an important decision of her own: to contact the sperm donor who made her life possible. Calliope gets the shock of her life when she learns that her donor is Max’s father. With the love and support of her moms and her friends to prove it, Calliope has always known that blood isn’t the only thing that makes a family. She wants to keep Max in her life, but how can she transform romantic love into something acceptable for half siblings? First-person narrator Calliope is self-aware as she struggles to redefine her relationship with Max, and supporting characters have growth arcs that evolve naturally. The plot is neatly divided in two parts: before the news and after. Most characters are White; biracial Max’s mother is Black, and he identifies as Black.

A sweet reminder that family extends beyond the bounds of blood. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4664-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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