Undemanding but enjoyable—an ideal beach read. (Romance. 12-18)


From the If Only series , Vol. 1

This debut takes readers to Italy, where 17-year-old Pippa defies her parents’ wishes and secretly takes off on her own.

Her parents were sending her alone to an art school in Florence to learn about classical art so she could follow in her mother’s footsteps and run an art gallery. But she has plenty of euros and no desire to learn about art, wanting instead to see Italy and fall in love with an Italian. In Rome, she meets Darren, an attractive American archaeology student who shows her the Colosseum. Then she meets Chiara, an Italian girl who grew up in America but who lives in the Cinque Terre, where her family has a restaurant and where she invites Pippa to join her. Pippa decides to go—without telling her parents, of course. Complication lurks in the form of Bruno, Chiara’s handsome cousin, who begins to court Pippa aggressively. When Darren arrives, Pippa worries which boy she should choose: Bruno is Italian and hot hot hot, but she’s still attracted to Darren. Meanwhile, her parents still think she’s at school in Florence. While Rae presents an appealing character in Pippa, her evident love of Italy dominates the narrative, making the story feel like an enthusiastic travelogue. Readers will detect early on which boy Pippa will choose, but mild suspense about how that will come about should keep them engaged.

Undemanding but enjoyable—an ideal beach read. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-285-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Passionate, impulsive Chloe and her popular older sister, Adalyn, were inseparable—until the Nazis invaded France in 1940 and Adalyn started keeping secrets.

Over half a century later, Alice, Chloe’s 16-year-old American granddaughter, has just inherited her childhood home in Paris. The fully furnished apartment has clearly been neglected for decades and raises more questions than it answers: Why didn’t Gram talk about her childhood? Who is the second girl in the photos throughout the apartment? Why didn’t Gram’s family return there after the war? Alice’s father is reluctant to discuss anything that might upset Alice’s mother, who’s still reeling from her mother’s death, so Alice decides to find answers on her own. What she eventually learns both shocks and heals her family. Chapters alternate between Alice’s and Adalyn’s voices, narrating Adalyn’s experience as a French Christian of the Nazi occupation and Alice’s attempts to understand what happened after the war. The girls’ stories parallel one another in significant ways: Each has a romance with a young Frenchman, each has a parent struggling with depression, and each must consider the lengths she would go to protect those she loves. Though at times feeling a bit rushed, Alice’s engaging contemporary perspective neatly frames Adalyn’s immersive, heartbreaking story as it slowly unfolds—providing an important history lesson as well as a framework for discussing depression. Alice and her family are white.

Gripping. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293662-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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