An important plot-driven story about two teens who stand up for what’s right in the face of adversity.

THE ASSIGNMENT

High school seniors and best friends Logan and Cade are asked to defend the indefensible as part of a history assignment; they refuse.

Logan and Cade are not Jewish, but when their history teacher, Mr. Bartley, gives them an assignment in which they are to take on the role of Nazis and reenact the Wannsee Conference of 1942, each taking a side of the “debate” about the Final Solution, they protest. This is not a debate at all but a dehumanizing discussion about the extermination of the Jewish people. Narrated from the perspectives of several different characters, the novel tells a fictionalized story based on the actions of two New York state teens who stood against their teacher, principal, and, eventually, their school district with the help of their families and community. Despite abrupt, sometimes confusing point-of-view switches and somewhat wordy prose, this fast-paced novel will keep readers thoroughly engaged and eager to learn the resolution, rooting for Logan and Cade the whole way. The book contains a small element of romance as well as some references to sexual assault and physical abuse. The book also depicts anti-Semitic actions and related hate crimes. Main characters are assumed to be cisgender, white, and straight. There is diversity among the secondary characters, including one queer character.

An important plot-driven story about two teens who stand up for what’s right in the face of adversity. (resources, discussion questions) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12316-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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