Still, readers who enjoy a dampened-Kleenex conclusion will probably beg for more

READ REVIEW

ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY

After 17-year-old Bryce strikes her head on a diving platform during a competition, she awakens from a coma five years later to a vastly changed world.

Her parents' marriage is failing, her sweet younger sister Sydney has turned into a hard-drinking goth, her boyfriend Greg is engaged to her best friend, and a cute medical student from the hospital, Carter, has seemingly fallen in love with her. It's a lot to miss out on. Bryce recovers quickly, but now she's subject to brief, painful flashes of foresight: She's able to see tragic events before they occur, a paranormal twist that, arising infrequently, hardly seems to matter to the plot and feels like an afterthought. Melodrama abounds as shadowy stock extras—everyone but Bryce—encounter predictable steamy situations. Fortunately, third-person narration provides much-needed depth to Bryce's character in this uneven debut. Readers in the know will remark that competitive divers do not wear goggles, as Bryce appears to do. A silly medical twist offers a look ahead to a gloomy future for the protagonist, and a strange literary contrivance featuring cicadas comes up from time to time but adds nothing but a bit of oddness.

Still, readers who enjoy a dampened-Kleenex conclusion will probably beg for more . (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6386-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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