An ambitious coming-of-age story.


A teen boy learns that he doesn’t have to grieve alone.

After Black, biracial high school sophomore Kermit’s older sister, Sheila, is killed by a drunk driver, he receives a mysterious invitation in his school locker to join an unknown group; the back of the card reads only “-1.” The Minus-One Club is composed of classmates who have suffered a devastating loss: There’s football player Patrick, whose father died while sailing; artsy Celia, whose twin sister succumbed to leukemia; geeky Simon, whose beloved late grandfather was his only family; dance team member Janna, whose mother died in a car accident while Janna was learning to drive; and handsome, openly gay Matt, who lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. The rules of the club are simple—it is top secret, and they don’t talk about death. Kermit needs the support; as a closeted gay teen with homophobic, religious parents, he’s unsure where to place his grief. Memories and dreams of Sheila guide Kermit as he quickly becomes closer with Matt, but while the club provides some level of security, ignoring their losses can lead to emotional spiraling and dangerous consequences. Magoon tackles a lot with Kermit’s story, but the realistic jumble of romance, grief, religion, toxic masculinity, sexuality, and depression may leave readers feeling like there are too many threads and not enough character development to truly feel invested.

An ambitious coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-80620-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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