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Overall, an upbeat story inspired by a classic about staying positive and resilient in the face of adversity.

A plucky, disco-loving teen and her moms are met with small-town prejudice upon moving to their new home.

With her dyed orange hair and vibrant, retro wardrobe, high schooler Anne Shirley is used to standing out from the crowd just by being herself. But when Anne, who likes girls and is of Japanese and Welsh descent, moves with her White moms to Greenville, they quickly catch the attention of residents who view the new family as a threat to the town’s conservative values. At school, Anne is the target of openly racist and homophobic comments, while her mom Lucy, the new vice principal at Greenville High, faces intense scrutiny and criticism from parents. Green-haired, artistic Berry is Anne’s only new friend, and though she offers support and encouragement, the constant provocation is almost enough to dull Anne’s shine. When auditions for the school play are announced, Anne sees an opportunity to participate in a Greenville tradition without compromising who she is, but outcry against the chosen play, Peter Pan, in which Anne is cast as the lead, threatens to end the production before it even begins. Anne recounts these first few weeks in Greenville in bright, conversational prose that bursts with personality and frequently veers into enthusiastic tangents. Unfortunately, secondary characters aren’t developed quite as well, particularly Anne’s bullies, who have little substance beneath their casual cruelty.

Overall, an upbeat story inspired by a classic about staying positive and resilient in the face of adversity. (content warning) (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07840-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Melissa de la Cruz Studio

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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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

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