Like spun sugar—glitzy, sweet, and airy.

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MY SUMMER OF LOVE AND MISFORTUNE

A series of poor life choices earns high school senior Iris Wang a one-way ticket to China.

As a flower-hearted girl born in the Year of the Tiger, Chinese American Iris was destined from birth to be unlucky. She prefers to live in a rose-tinted bubble, determinedly ignoring the consequences of her reckless decisions until things spiral out of control. When she fails her final year of high school and is rejected by all of the colleges she applied to, her parents send her to live with her estranged Uncle Dai and his family in Beijing in order for her to reflect on her mistakes. Iris’ initial terror, followed by delight at discovering that her uncle is a construction tycoon, fades when Uncle Dai insists that she not only work on improving her academic and Mandarin language skills, but also help her haughty cousin, Ruby, learn English. Though well-meaning, Iris is impulsive and careless, especially when it comes to spending money. Her bubbly first-person narration, rife with similes and brand names, occasionally veers from humorous to immature. The importance of family bonds is a theme that runs throughout, but it is overwhelmed by the force of Iris’ effusive and self-absorbed personality in this novel that reads like Confessions of a Shopaholic meets Crazy Rich Asians.

Like spun sugar—glitzy, sweet, and airy. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4334-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.

CODE NAME VERITY

Breaking away from Arthurian legends (The Winter Prince, 1993, etc.), Wein delivers a heartbreaking tale of friendship during World War II.

In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war, but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place.

A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5219-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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An accomplished, exciting debut.

ALL THE STARS AND TEETH

A princess embarks on a dangerous path to the throne.

In the island kingdom of Visidia, where each person is allowed just one type of magic, only the members of the royal Montara family have the ability to wield the dangerous soul magic. Princess Amora is next in line to be High Animancer, but she must first prove to her people that she is powerful enough to use her magic to protect them. But something goes terribly wrong during a critical public ceremony, and Amora runs away with dashing pirate Bastian, whose rescue comes with a price: She must help him recover his own magic, stolen away by a dangerous man leading a growing rebellion that could bring down the whole kingdom. Debut author Grace wields her own magic with a skillful balancing act between high-stakes adventure (here there be monsters, mermaids, and high-seas shenanigans), bloody fantasy, and character development in a story with a lovable found family at its core. Amora yearns for adventure just as she welcomes her right to command her kingdom; her ferocious sense of duty and legitimate need to do good shine through. The novel’s further unravelling of dark secrets long kept comes with a recognized need for accountability and making amends which adds a thoughtful extra layer to the rich worldbuilding. Amora has copper-brown skin and dark, curly hair; other characters have a range of skin tones in this diverse world.

An accomplished, exciting debut. (guide to the kingdom) (Fantasy. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-30778-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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