A bizarre first effort that will engage few readers, if any. (Fiction. 12 & up)

READ REVIEW

A SCARY SCENE IN A SCARY MOVIE

An odd portrayal of a 14-year-old boy coming to terms with obsessive-compulsive disorder and loneliness.

Rene Fowler is obsessed with the number 13, washes his hands routinely and secretly dons a Batman cape. He’s desperate for friendship, which he finds in the guise of a smooth-talking, Bob Dylan–esque cool kid named Gio. Somehow a genuine friendship develops, and the two devise a half-baked scheme to escape Rene’s crazy, gambling-addicted dad by taking a bus to New York City. Blackstone’s debut is strange in every way—from the hyperbolic horror-movie marketing on the cover to the schizoid universe that is Rene’s mind and the language that Blackstone uses to characterize him. Readers will cringe in confused discomfort when Rene breaks into his school wearing a superhero costume and even more when he develops a peculiar relationship with his seemingly troubled English teacher. Many of his thoughts are so far out that readers will be wondering if he’s suffering from a more serious ailment than OCD, such as Asperger syndrome. Interestingly enough, Gio is the only character that teen readers will connect with in the novel. His easygoing, go-with-the-flow, straightforward disposition and voice are the sole linear elements that drive the plot forward.

A bizarre first effort that will engage few readers, if any. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-36421-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale.

LEGACY AND THE QUEEN

A 12-year-old girl living in a kingdom ruled by a mysterious queen dreams of attaining her sport’s highest prize.

Legacy Petrin lives and works in the financially strapped orphanage in the provinces run by her father and rises early every day to practice tennis with her old racket. After her best friend, Van, excitedly tells her about a scholarship competition for a spot at an esteemed academy and the opportunity to try out for the national championships, Legacy runs away to the city to compete. After winning, she learns there is still much she doesn’t know: The players are not just proficient in tennis, but also have magical skills that they use to their advantage. Legacy befriends Pippa, a knowledgeable girl from an elite tennis family, and acquires a builder, or coach, Javi. With Pippa and Javi at her side, Legacy makes her way through the competition, despite sabotage attempts, learning secrets about her own family along the way. Legacy is a strong character, and the secondary characters also have interesting backstories. The storyline is reminiscent of other dystopian stories, but centering tennis—with lively descriptions of matches that give a strong sense of the sport—is an unusual touch. Most characters are white, although Javi is brown-skinned, and some other characters of color are mentioned.

Magic, tennis action, and family secrets are woven into an original coming-of-age tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949520-03-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more