Still, the romances (with all their implausibilities) take precedence, and readers will be caught up with Emily’s and Hope's...

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CROW MOUNTAIN

The parallel stories of rescue, love, and burgeoning self-reliance, 150 years apart, of two refined 16-year-old white English girls whose lives are changed in the American West by young, rugged, sensitive pioneers/cowboys with secrets.

In the present-day (and in the third person), Hope Cooper and her mother travel to a Montana ranch for research, lodging with the Crows, Caleb and his hardworking, handsome 19-year-old son, Cal. In 1867 and recounted in a diary/letter addressed to “you” that Hope finds in the barn loft, Emily Forsythe describes traveling by stagecoach through Montana toward an arranged marriage in Oregon. When the coach crashes, only Emily survives, rescued by Nate, a captivating blue-eyed horse trader and railway scout. In alternating chapters, Hope’s and Emily's engrossing stories mirror each other (as do Cal’s and Nate's), from injury to adjustment to the wilderness, coping with injustice, their first kisses, and beyond. Danger lurks at every turn in this sweeping and suspenseful romance, but its history is not well-integrated. Inglis packs in too much of her research, dropping in issues without really developing them, including women's subservient status; that of Nate's Apsáalooke family and his half sister, Rose, who is "two spirits in one body, a man and a woman"; the near-extinction of the bison; bullying.

Still, the romances (with all their implausibilities) take precedence, and readers will be caught up with Emily’s and Hope's exciting journeys. (Fiction/historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-90407-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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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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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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