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UNFORGETTABLE

It’s a sweet love story, where holding hands with Halle, a kiss and being loved for who you are enough to make Baxter’s...

Fifteen-year-old Baxter Green has synesthesia; he hears voices as colors, textures or sounds.

And he never forgets anything. He’s never forgotten his homework, never lost a library book, never lost a shoe. He remembers every day of his life as if it just happened, even kindergarten and a little girl named Halle with daffodils in her voice. When he and his mother move to Wellington, Minn., to hide out from his mother’s criminal ex-boyfriend, who used Baxter’s memory for a credit card scam and went to prison, Baxter hopes to hide his unusual powers, fit in and never again be known as The Memory Boy. But Halle happens to live in Wellington now, too. Baxter doesn’t let on that he knows her and remembers everything about her, not wanting Halle to think him a freak with a weird superpower. A lot is going here—an exploration of synesthesia and memory, a crime story, an environmental drama, family relationships and a sweet, earnest love story with a nod to The Great Gatsby. But everything works, and, ultimately, it’s all of these things together that lead to Baxter’s transformation into a boy who doesn’t have to make himself invisible to fit in.

It’s a sweet love story, where holding hands with Halle, a kiss and being loved for who you are enough to make Baxter’s world anew. (Fiction. 11 & up) 

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2305-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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