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

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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A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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