A fast-paced bildungsroman offering an engaging portrait of the artist as a young woman. (Fiction. 14-18)

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ART BOSS

A young artist moves to the big city.

In the follow-up to Piper Perish (2017), Cagan’s plucky first-person narrator has escaped the confines of her distressing home life in Houston to follow her dreams of attending art school and supporting herself as an artist. Moving to New York City with the money she saved waiting tables, talented 18-year-old Piper now finds herself in the rare position of being hired by a celebrated artist to serve as his assistant as she awaits news on the financial aid package she desperately needs to attend art school. Piper is ready to remake herself and start a new life, even as she gets a reality check from native New Yorker Silas, a would-be beau and seeming “real live Edward Gorey character,” who warns her that New York is “a city with no respect for the past. Nostalgia just gets swept up with the trash here.” Trash eventually becomes an important artistic element for Piper as she tries to establish her own autonomy and negotiate budding romantic and artistic relationships in the shadow of the domineering artist who’s hired her to execute his vision. This enjoyable read contains many New York City details that ring true and offers a glimpse into the contemporary world of young struggling artists. Piper and Silas are white.

A fast-paced bildungsroman offering an engaging portrait of the artist as a young woman. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6037-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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