Sobering, complex, unexpected—and wholly un-put-down-able.


In a world facing storms and floods of biblical proportions, survival isn’t guaranteed.

Everyone in Kostrov expects the Royal Flyers, whose aerial silk performances preserve the country’s cultural heritage, to accompany the court on the ships that will sustain royals, nobles, and pious commoners during the impending yearlong flood prophesied in the Sacred Breath scripture. So when, with only months to spare, Natasha discovers that the Flyers aren’t on the roster, she joins the many Kostrovian girls competing for King Nikolai’s hand in hopes of guaranteeing passage for herself and her troupe. Refreshingly, despite Natasha’s love of fairy tales, it’s clear she considers marrying the king a strategic, rather than romantic, endeavor—while the way she feels around Ella, the newest Flyer, is less quantifiable. But Ella has a secret: She’s part of a vengeful plot to assassinate Nikolai. Though the girls’ objectives are directly at odds, their intense attraction to one another threatens their plans. Their slow-burn romance, told in alternating perspectives, grounds the plot amid increasingly devastating storms that illuminate Robson’s rich worldbuilding of a country divided by class, privilege, and beliefs. An immersive and clever tribute to the natural world and the longevity and power of storytelling, this book is also a subtle yet incisive critique of patriarchal structures and the male gaze. Natasha and Ella read as White; the supporting cast is diverse in skin tone.

Sobering, complex, unexpected—and wholly un-put-down-able. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55403-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.


The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

Exactly what the title promises.


A grieving teen’s devotion to romance films might ruin her chances at actual romance.

Liz Buxbaum has always adored rom-coms, not least for helping her still feel close to her screenwriter mother, who died when she was little. Liz hopes that her senior year might turn into a real-life romantic fantasy, as an old crush has moved back to town, cuter and nicer than ever. Surely she can get Michael to ask her to prom. If only Wes, the annoying boy next door, would help her with her scheming! This charming, fluffy concoction manages to pack into one goofy plot every conceivable trope, from fake dating to the makeover to the big misunderstanding. Creative, quirky, daydreaming Liz is just shy of an annoying stereotype, saved by a dry wit and unresolved grief and anger. Wes makes for a delightful bad boy with a good heart, and supporting characters—including a sassy best friend, a perfect popular rival, even a (not really) evil stepmother—all get the opportunity to transcend their roles. The only villain here is Liz’s lovelorn imagination, provoking her into foolish lies that cause actual hurt feelings; but she is sufficiently self-aware to make amends just in time for the most important trope of all: a blissfully happy ending. All characters seem to be White by default.

Exactly what the title promises. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6762-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?