Predictable but pleasant, with a swoonworthy ending straight out of the movies.

NOW THAT I'VE FOUND YOU

When an aspiring actress wrecks her big shot, she needs her grandmother’s help to salvage her career.

Right before high school graduation, Evie Jones finally gets her big break, and it’s a starring role. But when her jealous best friend, who also auditioned for the part, posts a video of Evie impersonating the director, she is fired. Desperate to continue her family’s legacy—her parents are documentary filmmakers; her grandmother Gigi is a legendary actress—Evie makes a deal with her grandmother’s least favorite person, James Jenkins, who is Gigi’s ex-husband and Evie’s former stepgrandfather. The former couple co-starred in a film that became a cult classic, and he wants to remake it, but without her grandmother’s approval, he won’t cast Evie as the female lead. When Gigi disappears, Evie enlists her grandmother’s handsome, 19-year-old musician friend Milo to help find her before time runs out on her comeback opportunity. Evie’s character development is slow, and she comes off as self-centered for most of the book; Milo, by contrast, stands out, and readers may be disappointed that more time isn’t spent on him and his hilarious, quirky friends. The pacing is also off, with the most interesting action packed into the final chapters, but the novel is a light, sincere look at parental expectations and artists’ dreams. The main characters are black, and there is a diverse cast of supporting characters.

Predictable but pleasant, with a swoonworthy ending straight out of the movies. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-29502-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in.

THE CRUEL PRINCE

From the Folk of the Air series , Vol. 1

Black is back with another dark tale of Faerie, this one set in Faerie and launching a new trilogy.

Jude—broken, rebuilt, fueled by anger and a sense of powerlessness—has never recovered from watching her adoptive Faerie father murder her parents. Human Jude (whose brown hair curls and whose skin color is never described) both hates and loves Madoc, whose murderous nature is true to his Faerie self and who in his way loves her. Brought up among the Gentry, Jude has never felt at ease, but after a decade, Faerie has become her home despite the constant peril. Black’s latest looks at nature and nurture and spins a tale of court intrigue, bloodshed, and a truly messed-up relationship that might be the saving of Jude and the titular prince, who, like Jude, has been shaped by the cruelties of others. Fierce and observant Jude is utterly unaware of the currents that swirl around her. She fights, plots, even murders enemies, but she must also navigate her relationship with her complex family (human, Faerie, and mixed). This is a heady blend of Faerie lore, high fantasy, and high school drama, dripping with description that brings the dangerous but tempting world of Faerie to life.

Black is building a complex mythology; now is a great time to tune in. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-31027-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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