A poignant interracial love story that grapples with hate and violence.

READ REVIEW

THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER

A few weeks after getting jumped by boys from a rival town, a black student disappears, causing his white girlfriend to assume the worst.

Jessie is devastated by the disappearance of her boyfriend, Chris, and becomes increasingly suspicious of foul play. Jessie is a white girl from a poor neighborhood. Chris is a model student, a pacifist, and a talented athlete—and he happens to be African-American. The plot builds on an intriguing series of clues, exploring gender and racial hate crimes, drug addiction, freak accidents, and mental illness. The book’s strength lies in the normalization of their love story, and while race is often a factor in their relationship, the issues they face ring deep and true. When his mother describes Chris, one of the few black students in the town, to the local police, Jessie remarks, “You should tell them that he has a dimple.” Jessie is so clearly not racist, remembering Chris by his idiosyncrasies—how he likes “retro candy,” for instance—and yet she too can fall prey to the most basic assumptions. The premise, that the book is one long letter from Jessie to the missing Chris, displays the essential contrivance of the epistolary form, yet Purcell handles the nuances of interracial relationships with a remarkably sensitive and observant eye and challenges readers to view racism under a broader category of generalizations.

A poignant interracial love story that grapples with hate and violence. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-9834-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more