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From the Liar's Beach series , Vol. 2

Dark doings and mildly steamy desire in the dorms.

Two years down the road from the traumatic events of Liar’s Beach (2023), a Harvard freshman finds a second corpse—this time in his girlfriend’s bed.

Cotugno kits out her whodunit with the requisite red herrings, enigmatic clues, sudden twists, and even an Agatha Christie–style denouement that wraps things up. But her sequel’s focus and drive center on the emotionally messy romantic triangle that develops as Linden finds himself caught between a rekindled relationship with former high school classmate Greer and a previously platonic one with close childhood friend Holiday. It’s Greer’s roommate who winds up in her bed, wearing her clothes, and dead of an apparent overdose while, as in the opener, Holiday is the story’s observant, analytical Poirot—to the point that she’s the one who actually goes ahead and sets up the climactic scene after making a few telling discoveries while Linden is stewing at home, suspended in the wake of being framed for a rash of student pilferage. Along with marveling anew that Linden, the still thoroughly self-centered and clueless narrator, has any love life at all, readers will be less likely to be swept up in the details of the crime than the tale’s whirl of intelligent banter, alcohol-fueled parties, hormonal heat, and pretty post-adolescent confusion. Main characters present white.

Dark doings and mildly steamy desire in the dorms. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9780593433324

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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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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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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