LAST CHANCE BOOKS

This enemies-to-lovers romance includes a business rivalry, a deadbeat mom, and a last-gasp attempt to save a family store.

Recent high school graduate Madeline Moore has grown up working at Books & Moore, her family’s bookstore, and she would love nothing more than to take over running it after college. She and Benny, her half brother, have been raised in Pennsylvania by their maternal aunt, Astrid, and Benny’s father, Sterling, who lives in the area. Astrid manages the bookstore while the teens’ flaky mother is off trying to become an actress in California. The store’s livelihood is threatened when chain bookstore Prologue opens up across the street, quickly becoming Madeline’s nemesis. After an encounter with maddeningly attractive local boy Jasper Hamada leaves Madeline swooning, she discovers that his family owns Prologue, and he works there—which leads to a series of sabotaging pranks between the two. Madeline’s world collapses after her aunt announces that due to financial problems, the store is going to close at the end of the summer—and that her mom is moving back. The plot moves along briskly with romantic tension, sex-positive moments, comedic beats, and Madeline’s determination to save the store. Madeline has been bullied for her weight and expresses internalized fatphobia. She, her aunt, and her mother are cued as White; Benny has brown skin (he and Sterling are of indeterminate ethnicity) and Jasper is Japanese American.

A solid rom-com. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-299446-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more