Recommended for fans of punk rock and 1970s British counterculture.

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NAKED '76

Playing bass for Naked, Lili, 16, witnesses punk rock’s rise from counterculture obscurity to center stage in London’s music scene and comes face to face with the Troubles, Northern Ireland’s bitter, violent guerilla conflict.

Abandoned by her Mexican, film-director father, Rafael Garcia, left on her own by her Welsh, mentally ill, ex–fashion model mother, Lili’s mostly raised herself. Flattered, she’s compliant when charismatic white boy Curtis Ray taps her for Naked and then to be his girlfriend. She shares his passion for music—his appetite for drugs, not so much. Between gigs and partying with the Sex Pistols and the Clash, Lili finds herself drawn to Naked’s new rhythm guitarist, William “Billy the Kid” Bonney from Belfast, brimming with talent. But William has secret priorities that outrank Lili and Naked; he misses a gig that could have led to a record contract. First published in Great Britain in 2011, the novel is culture- and time-specific, referencing British realities likely unfamiliar to U.S. readers (punk minutiae, skinhead vs. punk animosity, NME, squats, and skips). A more serious impediment is Lili herself, narrating the story 35 years later. She serves as readers’ eyes, but Lili’s strictly an onlooker. Her choices neither drive the unfolding plot nor influence crucial decisions made by others. She remains a passive receptacle to the end.

Recommended for fans of punk rock and 1970s British counterculture. (Historical fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0418-0

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A purple page turner.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE

From the Infernal Devices series , Vol. 2

This sequel to Clockwork Angel (2010) pits gorgeous, attractively broken teens against a menacing evil.

There's betrayal, mayhem and clockwork monstrosities, and the Shadowhunters have only two weeks to discover—oh, who are we kidding? The plot is only surprisingly tasty icing on this cupcake of a melodramatic love triangle. Our heroes are Tessa, who may or may not be a warlock, and the beautiful Shadowhunter warrior boys who are moths to her forbidden flame. It's not always clear why Tessa prefers Will to his beloved (and only) friend Jem, the dying, silver-eyed, biracial sweetheart with the face of an angel. Jem, after all, is gentle and kind, her dearest confidante; Will is unpleasant to everyone around him. But poor, wretched Will—who "would have been pretty if he had not been so tall and so muscular"—has a deep, dark, thoroughly emo secret. His trauma puts all previous romantic difficulties to shame, from the Capulet/Montague feud all the way to Edward Cullen's desire to chomp on Bella Swan. Somehow there's room for an interesting steampunk mystery amid all this angst. The supporting characters (unusually well-developed for a love-triangle romance) include multiple compelling young women who show strength in myriad ways. So what if there are anachronisms, character inconsistencies and weird tonal slips? There's too much overwrought fun to care.

A purple page turner. (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7588-5

Page Count: 528

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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