High-octane drama that thrills but lacks much-needed emotional resolution.

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PLEASE DON'T TELL

Twin sisters struggle to find themselves in the wake of the death of the boy who nearly destroyed them.

The summer before their junior year, sisters Joy and Grace agree to a summer of misdeeds. They’ll get drunk and high for the first time, and Grace will come out of the shell Joy’s always trying to pry her from. But when Grace develops a crush on Adam Gordon, things begin to spiral. Joy brings them together only for Adam to assault Grace and send her into a fugue; she won’t leave her room, let alone return to school. Then, in November, Adam falls to his death. It seems the monster haunting them may be gone for good, except Joy can’t shake the feeling that maybe she pushed him while drunk, that it wasn’t an accident. And then the blackmail letters claiming someone saw Joy murder Adam begin to arrive. As Grace retreats further into herself, Joy’s forced to follow the letters’ directions to keep the blackmailer from turning her in. When the truth comes out, it’ll either bring the sisters back together or tear them apart for good. The twins’ drama accelerates quickly, taking readers down shocking rabbit holes. However, the twist that ties it all together may be too far-fetched for readers seeking answers to questions about sexual assault rather than pulp fiction.

High-octane drama that thrills but lacks much-needed emotional resolution. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-231732-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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