A gentle, honest, and occasionally perplexing exploration of how people seek solace during anguishing situations.

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INVISIBLE FAULT LINES

Dazed by her father’s inexplicable disappearance, Callie spends the next several months searching for answers and adjusting to the new family dynamic that’s developing with her mother.

Following her father’s disappearance, Callie finds herself imitating normal life, until driving by the construction site where her father was last seen makes her realize her dad has been missing for 39 days. Stunned at what feels like her complacency, Callie renews her efforts to solve the mystery of her father. Sadly, all she ever finds is her father’s abandoned backpack, which offers no new clues. But, while visiting a centenary exhibit of photos from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Callie believes that she sees her father in one of the photos. She begins researching the earthquake and its aftermath, privately convinced her father may have been somehow transported back to that time period. Adding possible credibility to her theory are the evocatively detailed chapters featuring a nameless man with amnesia wandering around San Francisco after the 1904 earthquake. He vaguely senses he is missing something—could it be Callie and her mother in 2006? Ultimately Callie gains few answers, but her journey toward acceptance of both her father’s disappearance and her feelings of loss is painstakingly, sensitively rendered.

A gentle, honest, and occasionally perplexing exploration of how people seek solace during anguishing situations. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3071-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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

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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

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