Whether or not Gabby and Ryan make it into readers’ own top tens, readers will root for them.


Cotugno’s newest follows a seemingly mismatched duo over the first four years of their friendship.

White high schoolers Gabby and Ryan make an unlikely pair. Gabby’s intense and untreated social anxiety makes her relatively reclusive, sticking to her family’s weekly Friday night Monopoly games and spending time with her one close friend. Ryan is an extroverted hockey player, effortlessly popular with a string of short-term girlfriends. Their chance meeting in ninth grade at Gabby’s sister’s party leads them to become best friends almost instantly, much to everyone’s surprise. With some persistence, Ryan becomes one of the few people who can distract Gabby from her “panickers” and draw her out of her shell, while Gabby becomes one of the few people who’s deeply honest with Ryan and looks out for his health after multiple concussions. While both characters find themselves attracted to each other, missed signals and poor timing (including when both bisexual Gabby and straight Ryan have girlfriends at the same time) complicate the potential for a romantic relationship. Their prioritization of their interpersonal relationship, person-to-person and regardless of romance, is endearing and refreshing. The third-person narration, which alternates between Ryan and Gabby, at times feels distant, but the nonlinear narrative structure (divided into 10 interconnected moments in their relationship and beginning with their consummation after graduation) makes a compelling balance.

Whether or not Gabby and Ryan make it into readers’ own top tens, readers will root for them. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241830-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.


From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Several yards short of a touchdown.


A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?