Next book

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE

Simply fearless.

Three young, queer Brazilian men grapple with the realities of living with HIV in Rocha’s audacious debut.

The overcrowded clinic brims with impatient people, but for 18-year-old Ian Gonçalves, the only thing on his mind is his testing positive for HIV. The news sends him spiraling down, understandably. Enter 18-year-old Victor Mendonça, who’s also in the clinic, awaiting his results after a recent partner revealed his own HIV status. Fortunately, Victor’s in the clear, but he notices the distraught Ian and offers him the opportunity to connect with said partner, 21-year-old Henrique, for support. Readers follow all three young men—Ian, struggling with his newly defined life; Henrique, already HIV positive for three years; and Victor, afraid to be in love with Henrique—as Rocha depicts each of their perspectives with profound kindness and clarity. More a series of open-hearted conversations than a plot-driven narrative, this debut seeks to tear down the social stigmas surrounding HIV, offering life-affirming scientific facts and addressing prejudicial thinking. The cast of characters is solid: Ian feels alone, but as he adapts to the medicine that’ll help him, that isolating thought withers thanks to the supportive voices who gather around him, including those of Victor and Henrique, who are trying to mediate their newfound, complicated relationship. At times explicitly educational, this treatise on community provides comfort in an often homophobic world, with strong-willed drag queens; drunken, ecstatic nights; and blossoming lovers.

Simply fearless. (afterword, author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-55624-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PUSH/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Next book

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

Next book

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

Close Quickview