Marquardt once again writes a touching and authentic exploration of immigration, love, and loss.

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FLIGHT SEASON

A grieving hospital intern and an ambitious young nurse’s aide bond over their shared friendship with a dying teen patient.

After barely passing most of her first-year pre-med classes at Yale, Vivi Flannigan must successfully complete a summer internship in a Central Florida hospital’s heart ICU. TJ Carvalho works as a nurse’s aide on his way to becoming an RN. When their paths cross, Brazilian-American TJ (who’s dark-skinned and multiracial) recognizes white Vivi as the “pretty-faced hot mess” who got drunkenly out of control at his family’s churrascaria the previous Thanksgiving break. Vivi, meanwhile, would rather forget that “terrible night,” because her beloved father died soon after. TJ and Vivi attempt to avoid each other, but observant Ángel Solis, the 18-year-old heart-infection patient who doesn’t respond to English or Spanish (he’s indigenous Guatemalan), senses their attraction and brings them together. Told in alternating points of view among the three characters, the poignant story shows how young adults can connect deeply despite differences in privilege, race, and citizenship status. Each of Vivi’s chapters begins with excerpts and sketches from her bird journal—with the birds (and their calls) acting as a chorus to her story arc. Vivi and TJ’s slow-burn romance is electric, and Ángel’s humorous and heartbreaking perspective elevates him far above the stereotype of problematic sick characters without agency.

Marquardt once again writes a touching and authentic exploration of immigration, love, and loss. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10701-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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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Best leave it at maybe so.

YES NO MAYBE SO

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story.

Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being “painfully bad at anything girl-related,” and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents’ sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan “campaign iftar.” One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya’s no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya’s and Jamie’s first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzvah stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya’s mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim.

Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-293704-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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