Chad and Kara’s outcome is predictable from the start, but their time spent being creative and typical teens in the context...

STARRING ME

Good things come to those who wait—and pray.

Since winning America’s Next Star, 17-year-old Chad Beacon is famous enough to call the shots when a network develops a clean, teen version of Saturday Night Live. Well, maybe Chad’s not calling all of the shots yet. Since he will be spending so much time with his female co-star, his (presumably evangelical) Christian parents want to choose a Christian as his companion. A compromise is made: The network will narrow the talent pool to 10 girls, who will live together for a month while Chad’s tutor (also described as a Christian) will serve as housemother and help with the selection. The third-person narration alternates between Chad and Kara McKormick, also 17 and a former reality-show star, who becomes one of the contenders. Although the two meet through mutual friends (including the president’s son) and form an instant attraction, neither has any clue that they may be co-stars. And despite Kara’s obvious distinction from her conniving fellow contenders, she may lose the role—and Chad—because she doesn’t believe in God. Suddenly surrounded by believers and frightened by her dad’s deteriorating health, a questioning Kara turns to God for support.

Chad and Kara’s outcome is predictable from the start, but their time spent being creative and typical teens in the context of their celebrity status keeps the narration fun for genre fans. (Christian chick-lit. 13 & up)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4016-8489-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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A charming Jewish love story set against the bleak backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition.

THE POETRY OF SECRETS

In Trujillo, in the Spanish Kingdom of Castile in 1481, Isabel is a Crypto-Jew; she and her family maintain their Jewish faith in secret.

The Inquisition is gaining control, but 16-year-old Isabel, who has a passion for writing poetry, thinks that as New Christians her family is safe. The family converted to Christianity and were baptized in the hope of making their lives easier and more secure. However, like many other Jews in Spain at the time, they privately practice Judaism—attending church on Sundays but conducting Shabbat dinners every Friday night. They think their secret is safe, but the head Inquisitor, Fray Tomás Torquemada, is now targeting conversos for their private Judaizing. When Isabel is betrothed against her will to the powerful and ruthless alguacil, or sheriff, Don Sancho, Isabel’s parents believe that the upcoming marriage will save them from persecution. But when handsome aristocrat Diego warns Isabel that she is in grave danger from the Inquisition and especially from her husband-to-be, Isabel is determined to save her family, herself, and the man she loves—and live an openly Jewish life filled with poetry. This historical romance is a fast-paced, plot-driven tale with feminist main characters whom readers will root for from the very beginning.

A charming Jewish love story set against the bleak backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition. (author’s note, photos, research notes, poetry citations, further reading) (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-63418-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A reminder that even in a world filled with divisions and right-wing ideology, young people will rise up and demand equality...

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INTERNMENT

Layla was a regular American teenager until the new Islamophobic president enacted Exclusion Laws.

Muslims are being rounded up, their books burned, and their bodies encoded with identification numbers. Neighbors are divided, and the government is going after resisters. Layla and her family are interned in the California desert along with thousands of other Muslim Americans, but she refuses to accept the circumstances of her detention, plotting to take down the system. She quickly learns that resistance is no joke: Two hijabi girls are beaten and dragged away screaming after standing up to the camp director. There are rumors of people being sent to black-op sites. Some guards seem sympathetic, but can they be trusted? Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America, Ahmed’s (Love, Hate & Other Filters, 2018) magnetic, gripping narrative, written in a deeply humane and authentic tone, is attentive to the richness and complexity of the social ills at the heart of the book. Layla grows in consciousness as she begins to understand her struggle not as an individual accident of fate, but as part of an experience of oppression she shares with millions. This work asks the question many are too afraid to confront: What will happen if xenophobia and racism are allowed to fester and grow unabated?

A reminder that even in a world filled with divisions and right-wing ideology, young people will rise up and demand equality for all. (Realistic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52269-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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