Absorbing and satisfying.

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THE SULLIVAN SISTERS

The Sullivan sisters grapple with learning the truth about their parents—and themselves.

Eileen, Claire, and Murphy were once close, despite the death of their father and the struggles of their single mom, as demonstrated in the sweet opening chapter, set 7 years earlier, in which they build a huge blanket fort. Now, in a small town in current-day Oregon, the girls are growing apart and their mother is checked out. Eighteen-year-old Eileen struggles with alcohol, 17-year-old Claire is devastated by a college rejection, and 14-year-old Murphy just wants to regain the magic of her childhood—and bury the family turtle that died from her neglect. When Eileen receives word that they have inherited a house from their father’s brother, a man she never knew existed, she heads out of town to investigate. Despite Eileen’s wishes, Claire and Murphy join in the adventure. Soon, the girls learn that the castlelike house holds the key to disturbing family secrets. Despite this jarring plot twist, this outstanding story features three memorable characters, the right amount of suspense, and a vivid rendering of the complexities of sisterly love. Claire is gay, an element of her identity that is woven naturally into the story; she connects with a Vietnamese American lesbian who provides her with a valuable role model and who is pivotal in the denouement. The girls are white and Irish American.

Absorbing and satisfying. (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2053-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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