Next book


Confusing, directionless, and unremarkable.

If the Heathers had had smartphones.

Olivia has spent years in the shadow of her best friend, popular cruel girl Adrienne. When she catches Adrienne and her boyfriend, Ryan, in flagrante, Olivia takes revenge by sending screen shots of incriminating texts from Adrienne’s phone to their peers but makes the mistake of not actually reading what she’s forwarding. As a result, Olivia reveals some very sensitive information, including outing their friend Claire as a lesbian. Olivia then sets out to atone for her mean-girl ways by trying to knock Adrienne off her throne and stop her reign of terror. She associates herself with nice guy Whit, school golf champ and salutatorian, whom Adrienne hates. If people think Olivia is going out with Whit, they’ll see she’s better than Adrienne, won't they? The characters’ whingeing back and forth about who’s the worst human being is tedious, and their motivations are often confusing. Olivia rejects “dyke” as a pejorative, but repeated, unquestioned use of “slut” may not sit well with some readers. Olivia’s small South Carolina town appears to be all-white. Adrienne is described as “dark,” both in personality and appearance, with dark hair and eyes and ambiguously “tan” skin; another girl has brown skin, but most characters who merit a description are blond.

Confusing, directionless, and unremarkable. (Fiction. 15-17)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08286-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Next book


Best leave it at 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. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Next book


Gory horror that thinks nihilist incoherence is the same thing as edgy. It's wrong

A court-mandated hike becomes zombie flick, laden with 1980s pop-culture references.

Seventeen-year-old Nick's life could be better. Since his worthless father, the Dude, "Has Other Concerns" than buying groceries, Nick works at the chicken factory to earn food and medicine for his oddball baby sister. An accident at the factory leaves Nick jailed for...well, it's not clear what he's jailed for. Living in an unjust world, perhaps? Nick’s troupe of realistically foulmouthed delinquents are soon fighting off chicken-gnawing, entrails-chomping zombies at the top of a mountain, calling one another “fag” every step of the way. In prose that consists of far too many one-sentence and even one-word paragraphs ("Had to see. / If it was. /  Skoal. / Another step"), Nick has masturbatory fantasies about the hottest girl zombie, even while mooning over the object of his affections, Petal Gazes, a manic pixie punk-rock girl with anime eyes and a "Bauhaus" hoodie. Like Pete Hautman’s Rash (2006), this over-the-top boys'-prison-camp adventure resembles a grown-up Holes (1998), but lacks the heart and ultimate optimism of either. The sexed-up face-eating may please dedicated fans of the shambling undead, despite self-aware sarcasm that explicitly mocks the commercialism of current zombie fandom.

Gory horror that thinks nihilist incoherence is the same thing as edgy. It's wrong . (Horror. 15-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5947-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Close Quickview