An engaging tale of family and identity wrapped up in a sweet rom-com.

Aspiring writer Julieta, the daughter of Argentinian immigrants, has an eventful summer.

A creative-writing course with her favorite romance author and the three Romeos who capture her imagination offer Jules distractions from the fate of her parents’ struggling restaurant. Ryan, the “rich, fratty, know-it-all”—but good-looking—twin brother of her White best friend, Ivy, is also in the writing class, and Jules is surprised to learn he, too, doubts his abilities. Jules works at the restaurant alongside handsome Argentinian American childhood friend Lucas. Grounded and familiar, Lucas understands balancing big dreams and parental concerns about security. Finally, there’s Calvin, an attractive new classmate Jules finds fixing her abuela’s sink and watching telenovelas with her. He’s a White boy on a different path, one that may not include college. After Jules posts part of her “Untitled Teen Love Story” to the StoriedZone website, a user going by Happily Ever Drafter reaches out, requesting to collaborate on future entries. Jules is consumed by her efforts to identify this mystery co-author with whom she feels a connection and who might secretly be one of her Romeos. Jules’ immigrant family’s struggles to adapt to inevitable change and loss ring true: Their strengths and vulnerabilities are authentic and compelling. Jules is appealing and believable as the different boys in her life serve as prisms through which she imagines the consequences of different life choices, both her own and her parents’.

An engaging tale of family and identity wrapped up in a sweet rom-com. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9780062996541

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


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


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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