A sex-positive and thoughtful romp with humor and heart.

When a secret admirer becomes a stalker, how much will Jack give up to make it stop?

Everyone at 17-year-old Jack Rothman’s private New York City high school knows he’s gay and that he has a lot of sex (though the gossip is often far juicier than the reality). When Jack, a white boy, starts getting pink origami love notes in his locker, he and his besties, Latinx Jenna and African-American Ben (who is also gay), speculate on who they might be from; but they are far more focused on Jack’s agreeing to write an “anonymous” advice column for Jenna’s news blog and partying. Jack keeps subsequent notes a secret when they start threatening Jenna, Ben, and Jack’s mom. Only when the stalker’s threats become explicit does he tell, and the trio start investigating. As the creep factor rises and the investigation falters, Jack realizes he will have to do something drastic to save the ones he loves. The only weakness in Rosen’s racy mystery-cum–sex manual is the deus ex machina discovery of the culprit. The characters are believable in their milieu of privilege. Jack’s frank (and responsible) advice in his columns may not be for the easily shocked, but it’s related as if from a peer. Booze, smoking, explicit language, and pot use make this one for mature readers.

A sex-positive and thoughtful romp with humor and heart. (Fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48053-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018


From the Empirium Trilogy series , Vol. 2

A very full mixed bag.

In the sequel to Furyborn (2018), Rielle and Eliana struggle across time with their powers and prophesied destinies.

Giving readers only brief recaps, this book throws them right into complicated storylines in this large, lovingly detailed fantasy world filled with multiple countries, two different time periods, and hostile angels. Newly ordained Rielle contends with villainous Corien’s interest in her, the weakening gate that holds the angels at bay, and distrust from those who don’t believe her to be the Sun Queen. A thousand years in the future, Eliana chafes under her unwanted destiny and finds her fear of losing herself to her powers (like the Blood Queen) warring with her need to save those close to her. The rigid alternation between time-separated storylines initially feels overstuffed, undermining tension, but once more characters get point-of-view chapters and parallels start paying off, the pace picks up. The multiethnic cast (human versus angelic is the only divide with weight) includes characters of many sexual orientations, and their romantic storylines include love triangles, casual dalliances, steady couples, and couples willing to invite in a third. While many of the physically intimate scenes are loving, some are rougher, including ones that cross lines of clear consent and introduce a level of violence that many young readers will not be ready for. The ending brings heartbreaking twists to prime readers for the trilogy’s conclusion.

A very full mixed bag. (map, list of elements) (Fantasy. 17-adult)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5665-4

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019


A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Close Quickview