Teenage rogue trades Spanish Main for the Spanish plains in a solid adventure tale.

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VIVA JACQUELINA!

BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF JACKY FABER, OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

From the Bloody Jack Adventures series , Vol. 10

While her beloved Jaimy Fletcher recuperates in Burma from his recent madness, irrepressible Jacky Faber leaves the high seas and goes to war once more.

Dispatched to Portugal by British Intelligence to aid (and spy on) General Arthur Wellesley in his campaign against the French, Jacky finds her loyalties and background questioned. As Wellesley points out, Jacky has both accumulated an unbelievable number of military medals and consorted with the enemy, specifically Napoleon but also thieves, rogues, rebels and pirates. Jacky is not modest, but she seems to stumble into fame rather than seek it out, making her an admirable instead of an insufferably arrogant protagonist. As usual, her plans go awry, and Jacky strikes out alone for Madrid, where she finds lodging with Goya, the painter, and experiences a slew of stereotypical Spanish activities. Plot matters less than personal development; action is intermittent and the ending abrupt, but Jacky adds to her impressive repertoire of skills and amorous encounters. Jacky seems amused by her sexual allure—which indeed strains credulity—and toes the line of impropriety but technically remains faithful to Jaimy. Meyer makes many references to previous books and seems to be biding time until the next novel; this installment is entertaining but not exceptional.

Teenage rogue trades Spanish Main for the Spanish plains in a solid adventure tale. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-76350-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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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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