An overblown love story lacking nuance or depth.

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Two rich teens—with one flaw each—fall in love in neighboring Los Angeles mansions.

When Lennon moves into her father’s sprawling home, she’s struggling with the lifelong OCD that worsened after her mother’s death. She finds her match in bad-boy-next-door Kyler, her partner for a class project on Romeo and Juliet. Like Lennon, Kyler is wealthy, white, a creative prodigy, and separated from hegemonic perfection by exactly one character-defining flaw: a scar from a long-ago house fire. Kyler insists he’s hideous and refuses to play with his band in public; Lennon is sure her OCD is what killed her mother. Both characters self-consciously mention their own privilege but seem incapable of imagining that anyone might have bigger problems than they do. Alternating-perspective chapters tell the story from Lennon’s and Kyler’s points of view in turn, but their voices are so solipsistic and melodramatic as to be interchangeable—readers could be forgiven for thinking they’ve each fallen in love with themselves. More disturbingly, Kyler shows tendencies toward coercive control over the women in his life, including his sister, whose eating habits he monitors; Lennon’s stock-villain stepsister, toward whom he uses misogynistic slurs and physical intimidation; and Lennon herself, over whom Kyler explicitly claims ownership. The hyperbolic voices of the protagonists are both vapid and laborious to read. All characters are white except for a barely-there dark-skinned girl who shows Lennon around school.

An overblown love story lacking nuance or depth. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02396-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s.

GRIS GRIMLY'S FRANKENSTEIN

A slightly abridged graphic version of the classic that will drive off all but the artist’s most inveterate fans.

Admirers of the original should be warned away by veteran horror artist Bernie Wrightson’s introductory comments about Grimly’s “wonderfully sly stylization” and the “twinkle” in his artistic eye. Most general readers will founder on the ensuing floods of tiny faux handwritten script that fill the opening 10 pages of stage-setting correspondence (other lengthy letters throughout are presented in similarly hard-to-read typefaces). The few who reach Victor Frankenstein’s narrative will find it—lightly pruned and, in places, translated into sequences of largely wordless panels—in blocks of varied length interspersed amid sheaves of cramped illustrations with, overall, a sickly, greenish-yellow cast. The latter feature spidery, often skeletal figures that barrel over rough landscapes in rococo, steampunk-style vehicles when not assuming melodramatic poses. Though the rarely seen monster is a properly hard-to-resolve jumble of massive rage and lank hair, Dr. Frankenstein looks like a decayed Lyle Lovett with high cheekbones and an errant, outsized quiff. His doomed bride, Elizabeth, sports a white lock à la Elsa Lanchester, and decorative grotesqueries range from arrangements of bones and skull-faced flowers to bunnies and clownish caricatures.

Grimly plainly worked hard, but, as the title indicates, the result serves his own artistic vision more than Mary Shelley’s. (Graphic classic. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-186297-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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