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An engaging story of personal growth and a second-chance romance.

The senior prank at Ames, an upscale Rhode Island boarding school, reignites romance and conflict for Lily Hopper and ex-boyfriend Tag Swell.

Their relationship lasted nearly two years before Lily broke it off. Her feelings for Tag remain intense—but so is her jealousy over his girl admirers, especially valedictorian Blair Greenberg, whom he dated next. After Tag and Blair’s split, Lily keeps her distance until she’s tapped to join the senior prank, an invitation that secretly comes from Tag himself. They are setting up student body president Daniel Rivera—whose promposal Lily regrets accepting—by hiding the new yearbooks he’s scheduled to hand out in two days. Planting a trail of clues for Daniel across campus at night, Lily and Tag revisit their history and feelings; the one obstacle to their happiness was Lily’s insecurity, the plot’s linchpin. Athletic and an accomplished dancer, she’s the class salutatorian and bound for Georgetown University, but attending Ames for free as the daughter of one of the most popular teachers on campus and surrounded by students who are far wealthier, she is acutely self-conscious of her “fac-brat” status, has always played it safe, and struggles with self-doubt. Rehashing their past through flashbacks, Lily faces difficult emotional truths. Tag’s Type 1 diabetes is well described and woven into the story without being the focus of his characterization. Lily and Tag read White; surnames cue ethnic diversity in the supporting cast.

An engaging story of personal growth and a second-chance romance. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 9781728263137

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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