A SKY PAINTED GOLD

Seventeen-year-old Louise Trevelyan’s sleepy Cornish village witnesses the arrival of the wealthy, glamorous Cardews.

Lou has a bustling, loving, ordinary family—and dreams of something more. Her older sister is content to marry and settle down, but at low tide Lou sneaks across the causeway and into the empty Cardew House, where she writes installments in her ongoing adventure story. When 23-year-old Robert and his sister, the anachronistically named Caitlin, come down from London for the summer, Lou is drawn into their circle, becoming a pet project and confidante for Caitlin, whose fast-living friends flock to her sumptuously decadent parties. Robert and Lou initially clash, but their underlying romantic attraction is heavily signaled. Beneath the sparkle, Lou senses the orphaned, noble Cardews’ dysfunction, though concrete facts are tantalizingly mysterious. As the summer wears on and the gap between Lou’s indulgences and her family’s modest lifestyle becomes more glaring, Lou faces the difficult question of what next: Should she find a local boy and abandon her dream of becoming a novelist? Throw herself at wealthy American Charlie? Face her true feelings about Robert (who is engaged to Charlie’s sister)? While the story is charmingly frothy and the descriptions of clothing delight, there is little chemistry between Lou and Robert, and the characters feel as insubstantial as the glossy veneer on their high-society lives. Main characters are white; there are significant black secondary characters.

A light, escapist read. (Historical romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12722-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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