BRETT McCARTHY

WORK IN PROGRESS

Bigmouth Brett has two great loves: vocabulary words and soccer. When she’s not getting her adrenaline fix on the soccer field, she hangs out with her best friend Diane and enjoys a close relationship with her eccentric but loving grandmother, Nonna. A phone prank Brett and Diane play sets off a series of events that turn Brett’s life from average, even happy, to disastrous. Because of the prank, Brett loses all hope of attracting hottie Bob Levesque. She and Diane fight and suddenly Diane is best friends with the snotty, obnoxious Jeanne-Anne. Brett seems to have nowhere to channel her energy and that feistiness, combined with frustration at her friends and family, gets her suspended from school. A caring, innovative teacher comes to Brett’s rescue, but in order for Brett to regain her place at school she’ll have to stand up for the “brainiac” kids . . . and for herself. Through all her trouble she has the support of Nonna and her friend Michael, who are both funny, interesting characters that readers will appreciate. Brett herself is observant but not always endearing. The pacing is smooth and the actions build to a sad, if realistic, ending. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 11, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84675-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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LOVE, STARGIRL

Fifteen-year-old Susan “Stargirl” Caraway has moved to Pennsylvania, but as independent and free-spirited as she is, she can’t seem to let go of Arizona and her old boyfriend Leo Borlock. She’s lonely, even in the midst of a loving family and a colorful cast of characters in her new town. There’s five-year-old spitfire Dootsie, agoraphobic Betty Lou, angry Alvina, Margie the donut queen and mysterious Perry, a potential new boy in Stargirl’s life. As much as readers will relish this community and wish Stargirl would get on with her life there and forget mooning over Leo, she can’t seem to, and the whole leisurely paced novel is “the world’s longest letter” to him. Humor, graceful writing, lively characters and important lessons about life will make this a hit with fans of Stargirl (2000) and anyone who likes a quiet, reflective novel. Those meeting Stargirl here for the first time will want to read the previous work to see if Leo is worthy of her devotion. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-81375-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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