THE INNOCENTS

It’s dangerous when a novel references The Great Gatsby; it only begs unfortunate comparisons.

Sensible Alice and rebellious Charlie have just arrived at the Connecticut shore after a whirlwind romance between their just-divorced mother, Maggie, and a filthy rich architect, Richard. It takes no time for them to be caught up in the dreary intrigues and festering secrets of the 1 percent. Charlie hurls herself into the country-club world of their new stepfather, connecting almost instantly with a creepy-yet-charismatic pair of cousins, the dissolute Jude and bitchy Cybill. Alice, though more resistant to the allure of luxury, is drawn to the ruggedly handsome Tommy, whose most recent girlfriend just happens to have been Camilla, Richard’s late daughter, who committed suicide the year before and who bore an uncanny resemblance to—gasp—Alice. Charlie drinks and acts out; Alice alternately moons over Tommy, obsesses over Camilla and questions Maggie and Richard’s past. While Peloquin isn’t a bad writer—her control over a shifting third-person voice that captures both Alice’s reserve and Charlie’s attitude is particularly effective—Fitzgerald she ain’t. Readers will particularly wonder at the unfulfilled role of green-eyed waiter and scholarship student Stan in Charlie’s love quadrangle—until they get to the end and realize that the entire book has been an elongated setup for a series. This Side of Jealousy is scheduled for summer 2013; here’s hoping the characters develop some substance between now and then. (Chick lit/mystery. 12-16)  

 

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59514-582-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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