A lovely tale for bookish readers that will give them all the feels.

THE LIBRARY OF LOST THINGS

A sweet romance from a debut author to watch.

Darcy Jane Wells works at a bookstore and likes to memorize lines from her favorite classics. Her friends are her beloved characters and her best friend, Mexican/Cuban American fashionista Marisol, who is the only one who knows Darcy’s secret—her mother is a hoarder. Brokenhearted and traumatized by the abandonment of Darcy’s father, her mother is the image of perfection in public, but their small San Diego apartment is filled to the brim with her compulsive purchases. Darcy’s only refuge is her bookshelf-covered room. With the help of Marisol, a used copy of Peter Pan, and an older boy struggling with his own trauma and illness, the linguistic savant begins to muddle through her senior year. Peppered with literary quotes and chapter headings, this novel will delight teen lit fans (mentions of YA faves abound). Taylor Namey’s portrayal of mental illness is thoughtful and well executed, and the characterizations of even background characters are fully developed. The friendship between Darcy and Marisol is well balanced and charming, and the happy ending is swoony—but not overly so. The author sometimes relies too much on tropes (super self-aware teens, a mean-girl ex, a grumpy bookstore owner, and a boisterous Latinx family), but this doesn’t detract from the feel-good narrative. Darcy and most characters appear to be white.

A lovely tale for bookish readers that will give them all the feels. (Realistic fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-92825-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.

YOU'VE REACHED SAM

Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more