The book stands out in its nicely realistic portraits of the teens.

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PLAYED

The second book in the author’s examination of relationships between the white community and Native Americans on a Phoenix-area reservation.

Hooked (2013) got down and dirty into the racism engendered by a romance between Fred, a great girl golfer from the Rez, and Ryan, an upper-middle-class white boy. Here, the focus shifts to Ryan’s younger sister, Riley, and Sam, a Gila-Havasupai boy who’s been in unrequited love with Fred for years. Sophomore Riley and junior Sam, never friends, find themselves thrown together at a leadership camp when Riley falls over a ridge and Sam clambers down to rescue her. As they wait to be retrieved, Sam confesses his love for Fred to Riley, and Riley decides to break up the girl’s romance with her brother and give Sam a makeover so he’ll have a chance with her. Meanwhile, Riley goes to a party given by her longtime secret heartthrob—who simply plays Riley for a fool. Once again, Fichera concentrates on the conflict between personalities, although here she places less emphasis on the conditions on the reservation. While readers will predict the eventual romantic outcome, getting to that point takes the characters through major difficulties, providing most of the fodder for the story. As Riley and Sam begin to realize their mutual attraction, plenty of suspense arises from Riley’s bad choices.

The book stands out in its nicely realistic portraits of the teens. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-373-21094-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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