A by-the-numbers high school story with shallow characters and misplaced values.


Vine star Pons crafts a high school novel with herself as protagonist.

Lele Pons is your typical social media star: pretty, quirky, insecure, and sensitive. She stumbles her way through high school by day and carves out an Internet presence for herself by night. When her parents transfer her from a small Catholic school to a large Miami public school, conspicuously blonde Latina Lele makes the best of things, acquiring a black friend, a mean-white-girl enemy, and a pretty-white-boy crush. Lele does her best to balance her school life with her escalating Internet fandom, one that explodes over the course of the school year. Pons and co-author de la Cruz craft an unremarkable narrative; the characters are all fairly one-note, and nothing really dramatic ever happens. Crushes blossom and wither while friendships deepen, but a new spoke is never added to that tired wheel. Pons uses the quick wit developed by her Vines to move things forward at a remarkable pace, constantly sprinkling in silly asides—as well as hashtags, Webspeak, and references to her Rapunzel-like hair. She puts an inordinate emphasis on the value of physical attractiveness, financial gain, and fame. Lele wants to be a famous actress, emphasis on famous, with little interest in theater or the acting craft, which may play well to her fans but will alienate her fellow aspiring thespians.

A by-the-numbers high school story with shallow characters and misplaced values. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2053-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes


From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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In an unnamed country (a thinly veiled Philippines), three teenage boys pick trash for a meager living. A bag of cash in the trash might be—well, not their ticket out of poverty but at least a minor windfall. With 1,100 pesos, maybe they can eat chicken occasionally, instead of just rice. Gardo and Raphael are determined not to give any of it to the police who've been sniffing around, so they enlist their friend Rat. In alternating and tightly paced points of view, supplemented by occasional other voices, the boys relate the intrigue in which they're quickly enmeshed. A murdered houseboy, an orphaned girl, a treasure map, a secret code, corrupt politicians and 10,000,000 missing dollars: It all adds up to a cracker of a thriller. Sadly, the setting relies on Third World poverty tourism for its flavor, as if this otherwise enjoyable caper were being told by Olivia, the story's British charity worker who muses with vacuous sentimentality on the children that "break your heart" and "change your life." Nevertheless, a zippy and classic briefcase-full-of-money thrill ride. (Thriller. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-75214-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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