A sweet summer romance with two funny, compelling protagonists.

THE BOOKWORM CRUSH

This YA spinoff of Roberts’ (The Replacement Crush, 2016, etc.) previous novel follows a timid bookworm and a hunky surfer.

Amy McIntyre is determined to win a social media contest that will garner her a personal interview with Lucinda Amorrato, a bestselling romance author who is beloved by many but hasn’t toured in years. Unfortunately, Amy’s first stunt, a public “yarn-bombing” replicating her favorite book cover, attracts the attention of the Shady Cove police, who bust the teenager for breaking curfew. Enter Toff Nichols—champion surfer, known player, and soon-to-be stepbrother of Amy’s best friend, Vivian Galdi (the heroine of The Replacement Crush). He happens to catch Amy in the act and pretends to be her boyfriend to get her out of trouble. Soon Toff offers to coach Amy, upping her self-confidence to gain more likes and shares and get the attention of Amorrato’s publisher, which is running the contest. When a photograph of Toff and Amy goes viral and romance fans start “shipping” them (a fandom term describing two characters who should get together), she begins to see real relationship potential in the boy she once thought was out of her league. Meanwhile, Toff starts to appreciate Amy’s penchant for sparkly hair ornaments, enthusiasm for reading, and fiery spirit that matches her wild red hair. But after the two engage in more than one make-out session, they have to face reality: Can a surfer who doesn’t read and a romance-novel fanatic really make it work? Roberts has the teen voice down pat: Both of the appealing protagonists are devoted to their respective passions but also deal with deeper issues (Amy’s pastry chef father is now unemployed, and Toff’s surfer dad is about to marry Vivian’s mother). Amy’s knowledge of romance novels and her excitement for the contest are both contagious, and her friends Vivian and Dallas are close by and ready to help her achieve her goal. This engaging love story with a strong cast will make even the most jaded reader hope for a happily-ever-after.

A sweet summer romance with two funny, compelling protagonists.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-707-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

Aspiring filmmaker/first-novelist Chbosky adds an upbeat ending to a tale of teenaged angst—the right combination of realism and uplift to allow it on high school reading lists, though some might object to the sexuality, drinking, and dope-smoking. More sophisticated readers might object to the rip-off of Salinger, though Chbosky pays homage by having his protagonist read Catcher in the Rye. Like Holden, Charlie oozes sincerity, rails against celebrity phoniness, and feels an extraliterary bond with his favorite writers (Harper Lee, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Ayn Rand, etc.). But Charlie’s no rich kid: the third child in a middle-class family, he attends public school in western Pennsylvania, has an older brother who plays football at Penn State, and an older sister who worries about boys a lot. An epistolary novel addressed to an anonymous “friend,” Charlie’s letters cover his first year in high school, a time haunted by the recent suicide of his best friend. Always quick to shed tears, Charlie also feels guilty about the death of his Aunt Helen, a troubled woman who lived with Charlie’s family at the time of her fatal car wreck. Though he begins as a friendless observer, Charlie is soon pals with seniors Patrick and Sam (for Samantha), stepsiblings who include Charlie in their circle, where he smokes pot for the first time, drops acid, and falls madly in love with the inaccessible Sam. His first relationship ends miserably because Charlie remains compulsively honest, though he proves a loyal friend (to Patrick when he’s gay-bashed) and brother (when his sister needs an abortion). Depressed when all his friends prepare for college, Charlie has a catatonic breakdown, which resolves itself neatly and reveals a long-repressed truth about Aunt Helen. A plain-written narrative suggesting that passivity, and thinking too much, lead to confusion and anxiety. Perhaps the folks at (co-publisher) MTV see the synergy here with Daria or any number of videos by the sensitive singer-songwriters they feature.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02734-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: MTV/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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A celebratory song of the sea.

THE HIGHEST TIDE

A shrimpy 13-year-old with a super-sized passion for marine life comes of age during a summer of discovery on the tidal flats of Puget Sound.

Miles O’Malley—Squid Boy to his friends—doesn’t mind being short. It’s other things that keep him awake at night, like his parents’ talk of divorce and his increasingly lustful thoughts about the girl next door. Mostly, though, it’s the ocean’s siren call that steals his sleep. During one of his moonlit kayak excursions, Miles comes across the rarest sighting ever documented in the northern Pacific: the last gasp of a Giant Squid. Scientists are stunned. The media descend. As Miles continues to stumble across other oddball findings, including two invasive species that threaten the eco-balance of Puget Sound, a nearby new-age cult’s interest in Miles prompts a headline in USA Today: Kid Messiah? Soon tourists are flocking to the tidal flats, crushing crustaceans underfoot and painting their bodies with black mud. Dodging disingenuous journalists, deluded disciples and the death-throes of his parents’ marriage, Miles tries to recapture some semblance of normality. He reads up on the G-spot and the Kama Sutra to keep pace with his pals’ bull sessions about sex (hilariously contributing “advanced” details that gross the other boys out). But Miles’s aquatic observations cannot be undone, and as summer draws to a close, inhabitants of Puget Sound prepare for a national blitzkrieg of media and scientific attention and the highest tide in 40 years, all of which threatens everything Miles holds dear. On land, the rickety plot could have used some shoring up. Miles is just too resourceful for the reader to believe his happiness—or that of those he loves—is ever at stake. But when Miles is on the water, Lynch’s first novel becomes a stunning light show, both literal, during phosphorescent plankton blooms, and metaphorical, in the poetic fireworks Lynch’s prose sets off as he describes his clearly beloved Puget Sound.

A celebratory song of the sea.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2005

ISBN: 1-58234-605-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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