It’s clear someone has to die, but just who it will be keeps readers wondering to the very end. (Thriller. 15 & up)

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VICIOUS LITTLE DARLINGS

“The brochure said nothing about angst-filled dorms or psychic roommates.”

Instead of going to local UCLA, 17-year-old Sarah is spending the next four years at Wetherly, a fictional all-women’s college in New England, all because her Nana caught her having sex with the most popular guy at her high school. Constantly substituting sex for love (so she doesn’t end up miserable, like her absent parents), without female friends, slightly depressed and definitely insecure, she’s the perfect victim. In this edgy debut thriller, the first-year student’s not sure why she’s drawn to her beautiful, narcissistic orphan roommate, Maddy, and Maddy’s wealthy, enabling best friend, Agnes, but suddenly she’s sharing an off-campus house and an injured deer (which readers won’t know whether to laugh or cringe at) with them. And she’s not sure why she stays even after she realizes that Maddy is a pathological liar, that equally manipulative Agnes is trying to pretend she’s not in love with Maddy and that she’s caught between the two housemates vying for each other’s attention. It’s a constant who’s manipulating whom, with secrets, sexual tension and a Gypsy’s deadly prediction always at the forefront, as the story’s slow burn finally explodes. It's all given immediacy and subtle sarcasm through Sarah’s first-person narration, which will have readers second-guessing throughout.

It’s clear someone has to die, but just who it will be keeps readers wondering to the very end. (Thriller. 15 & up)

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59990-628-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Best leave it at maybe so.

YES NO MAYBE SO

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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