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MAJESTY

From the American Royals series , Vol. 2

An immensely fun sequel.

America’s new queen has a royal wedding to plan in the follow-up to 2019’s American Royals.

Imagine that George Washington was crowned America’s first king instead of president, and you’ve got the intriguing premise of McGee’s addictive series. In the wake of the sudden death of King George IV, his oldest daughter and heir to the throne, Beatrice, must put her grief aside and throw herself into her new responsibilities as queen. But first, she must get married. Even in a contemporary America, the very idea of a single woman taking the throne is controversial. She’s engaged to the perfectly nice son of the Duke of Boston, Theodore “Teddy” Eaton, but her heart lies with a commoner, and Beatrice is torn between love and duty. Meanwhile, her younger, hard-partying sister, Samantha, is consumed by her own romantic foibles, as is her best (and nonroyal) friend, Nina, who briefly dated Samantha’s twin brother, Jefferson. Then there’s relentless social climber Daphne, Jeff’s ex, who plans to win him back at any cost—along with the status that comes with him. McGee skillfully juggles each woman’s narrative, framing their struggles with plenty of pomp and circumstance and the challenges of living very public lives. Add in a dramatic finale that packs in all the feels, and you’ve got a royal winner. Most characters are white, but Nina is Latinx, and there is diversity in the supporting cast.

An immensely fun sequel. (Fiction. 14-19)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984830-21-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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