THE CATALOGUE OF THE UNIVERSE

Malay, who has twice won the Carnegie Medal for her supernatural stories (The Haunting and The Changeover), has now written a brilliant romance. More than just a romance, though, this is a haunting tale of two unusual teen-agers coming to terms with their feelings of truth, and of the fine line between lies and fairy tales. Angela May, the beautiful, illegitimate daughter of Dido May, has always asked questions about her real father. And her mother has told her stories about the wealthy man she loved but couldn't marry. As a child, Angela accepted the stories. As a young woman, she wants to know more and begins investigating. She makes Tycho Potter, her best friend but not boyfriend, an unwilling confidante as she nears the time to confront Roland Chase with her identity. She had expected that the confrontation might be unpleasant; she had not expected to learn that Dido's stories were untrue. The truth enrages her, and prompts her to do something "degrading." However, it also allows her to see that homely, bookish Tycho is the one she has loved all along; she and Tycho can at last be honest about their feelings. Teens will be moved by the emotional impact of the story, and challenged by the many ideas set forth by Tycho and Angels, who are as fascinated by philosophy and astronomy as they are by each other. The Catalogue of the Universe (the title is taken from the title of a book Angels once gave Tycho) is not for the casual reader. It is slow-going in some places, and heavy-going in others, but the journey through Angela and Tycho's minds and feelings is well worth the effort.

Pub Date: March 1, 1986

ISBN: 068985353X

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1986

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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