Hell hath no misery like a mean girl scorned.

HYACINTH GIRLS

When a bully turns into a target, it’s hard to know whom to blame. And, as this twisty debut demonstrates, whom to believe.

Murder and suicide don’t make for an auspicious entrée into motherhood, but that’s how Rebecca becomes the caretaker of her late best friend’s daughter, Callie, when the girl is only 4. Frankel introduces us to this odd little family nine years later, as teenage Callie’s face goes up on a billboard next to a pointed question: “Do you know your children?” The answer isn’t a mystery (spoiler: no), but we spend the rest of the book retracing Rebecca’s and Callie’s steps to find out why not. A lonely dental hygienist with insomnia and an awkward budding romance, Rebecca means well but lacks the intuition to see through Callie’s lies about the misery her school life has become. Callie blames Robyn, an unpopular girl in her class, for the trouble Callie and her friends have been getting into. Rebecca’s version of support looks like willing gullibility, driven by her insecurity about playing the role of mom: “I had never been a great one at connecting the dots,” she tells us, and we soon find out she’s not being modest. As she peels away the layers of Callie’s story, much of which is revealed through instant messages and texts between the girls, Rebecca discovers that her worst fears about herself and her young charge are depressingly accurate. It seems clear that we ought to root for Rebecca and Callie, but it’s much less apparent if their redemption is even an option.

Hell hath no misery like a mean girl scorned.

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-41805-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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