A gritty read for a woke generation.

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A close look at sexual coercion, cyberbullying, and other perils of surviving high school jock culture.

The story hinges around the close-knit trio of Nikki, Ani, and Lydia, who welcome the attractive, worldly new girl Suze into their fold. DeShawn and Marcus, two best friends and outsiders, catch wind of a rumor when a photo circulates revealing Suze, looking drugged, being carried from a party by her friends. DeShawn, empath and gifted tech whiz, intuits that something is wrong while snarky, budding journalist Marcus senses a story. Tarkin, king of the Jonesville jocks, has nude pictures of Suze, and he blackmails her into dumping her friends and becoming his girlfriend. Suze sets out to settle the score, enlisting DeShawn for backup. Things go from bad to worse when DeShawn becomes a suspect in a serious crime. The quick assumption of DeShawn’s guilt exposes the injustices and life-threatening realities he faces as an African American young man while indifferent administrators do little to protect students from harm (Ani is Indian American while Nikki, Lydia, and other major characters are white). Readers glimpse the inner workings of racism in criminal justice procedures, gender-based double standards, sexual coercion, diminishing privacy, and cyberbullying. In exploring and exposing interlocked oppressions, readers will grapple with intriguing twists on a rape revenge story, although the relationship between homophobia and sexism is not meaningfully explored.

A gritty read for a woke generation. (Fiction. 15-19)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948-34026-7

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Dottir Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Best leave it at maybe so.

YES NO MAYBE SO

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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