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Wonderful, witty, and as sweet as spun sugar.

Fortune favors the nerd in this heartwarming novel by bestselling novelist Meyer.

Sixteen-year-old Jude is content to live a quiet life, creating art, waging Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, hanging with his best friend (a girl named Ari), and pining over Maya, his unrequited crush. One night, while working at his parents’ record store, Ventures Vinyl, he stumbles across a ruby-red 20-sided die, which he pockets for later use. Suddenly, Jude conquers coin flips, slays a pop quiz, and vanquishes a vending machine—and starts to wonder if perhaps his new die has magical powers. After snagging a pair of VIP tickets to a sold-out concert, Jude seizes the opportunity to ask Maya on a date. But as the two get to know each other better, Jude starts to wonder whether his vision of her aligns with reality. And what about the feelings Ari unexpectedly stirs in him? When Jude loses his precious die, and his luck takes a turn for the worse, he’s forced to face a terrifying fact: His fortune may well depend solely on his own choices. This humor-infused romance features a likable cast of racially diverse characters, both main and ancillary: Jude is coded white, Maya is Black, and Ari has Mexican heritage. Noah, a sparkly side character, uses they/them pronouns. Jude’s breaking of the fourth wall to address readers adds charm to the story, as do his comics, which are interspersed throughout.

Wonderful, witty, and as sweet as spun sugar. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9781250618931

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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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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