A joyful ode to being true to yourself and finding love where you least expect it.


Kavya Joshi is aware that some people—classmates, Indian aunties and uncles, her older sister—think she’s besharam: “Bossy. Audacious. Rude. Mouthy. Boastful. Shameless. Bold.”

Nevertheless, Kavya is proud of her all-or-nothing attitude and refuses to compromise her personality for anyone, including the people she dates. And no one brings out her competitive spirit more than Ian Jun, her Korean American former friend–turned-rival, who not only excels with ease at everything he does but looks great doing it. As junior year wraps up, their friends decide to settle the long-standing rivalry over the summer with three mystery challenges. Kavya is eager to win and be declared the undisputed victor, especially after Ian joins her in working as off-brand Disney character children’s entertainers. But as she spends more time with Ian, who is considerate, charming, and seems to genuinely admire Kavya for who she is, Kavya starts to wonder if she’s misjudged him all along. Set in the picture-perfect town of Luna Cove, Indiana, this is a story that feels simultaneously magical and true to life. The character-driven plot, led by a vibrant cast that showcases diversity in ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation, places equal weight on the value of friendship, family relationships, and romance, with each element playing an important role in Kavya’s growth and changing self-understanding throughout the book.

A joyful ode to being true to yourself and finding love where you least expect it. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35087-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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