An ultimately uplifting story that does not shy away from the discomfort of reality.


When reality becomes too difficult to face, 16-year-old Daniel Kim escapes to Neverland.

In his daydreams, Daniel, who is White and Korean, is the confident leader of the Lost Boys who spends his days seeking treasure and battling Captain Hook. There are no strict, distant parents in Neverland, no homophobic classmates, no pressure for him to be someone he isn’t. In real life, Daniel is a junior at Cranbrook Prep in Southern California, having transferred to the school for a fresh start following a suicide attempt over the summer. He no longer wishes to die but still responds to stressful situations by dissociating, a coping mechanism he developed during a traumatic experience that he refuses to tell his psychiatrist about. A year ago, Daniel excelled at academics and athletics alike; now, he can’t stay awake long enough to finish a test. Joining the Cranbrook cross-country team gives Daniel a sense of the normality he craves and introduces him to Jiwon Yoon, a friendly, attractive, gay Korean American senior who understands what it’s like to hide a part of his identity. The portrayals of mental illness and trauma recovery are handled honestly and sensitively. There is no magical solution; instead, Daniel receives support through learning accommodations, grounding techniques, and assurance from Jiwon as he fights his anxiety and despair.

An ultimately uplifting story that does not shy away from the discomfort of reality. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63679-092-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.


The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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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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