A beautiful coming-of-age story about art and friendship.

Two lifelong friends have a summer in Brooklyn that alters them and their friendship forever.

Every summer until the girls were 13, Cassandra’s and Megan’s families vacationed in the same Michigan cottage, where the two early on discovered their artistic talents. That last summer Cass’ father didn’t show, and Megan worried about how different Cass seemed since they used to be so much alike. A few years later, an ecstatic Megan has convinced her controlling parents to let her visit Cass and her now-divorced mom in Brooklyn. Cass shows Megan around her version of New York, highlighting the stark contrasts between the two girls. Cass seems determined to shock sheltered, Midwestern Megan into becoming as bold and hardened as she is. Despite Cass’ intensity, Megan opens herself to the excitement of the city and begins her journey of finding out who she is separate from her parents’ wishes. Near the end of Megan’s trip, the girls collaborate on a piece that pushes Megan’s boundaries, causing her to make a decision that could cost their friendship. Through subtle, realistic lines and nostalgic, watercolor-style art, including several charming full-panel landscapes, the author creates an immersive story that will resonate with readers. Although the story is told from Megan’s perspective, Cass is very much a fully realized character in this tribute to honest, authentic, creative expression. Megan and Cass read as White, and there is diversity in background characters.

A beautiful coming-of-age story about art and friendship. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5546-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021


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


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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