SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW

A K-pop star finds love and adventure with an aspiring photographer in this modern retelling of Roman Holiday.

Lucky, a Korean-American K-pop star suffering an existential crisis over her career, plays hooky one night after a big concert in Hong Kong, escaping her handlers and bodyguard in search of a hamburger. Woozy on anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills, she loses her way only to be rescued by Jack, an attractive stranger and fellow Korean-American who at first has no idea who she is and is struggling through his own personal crisis over whether to study banking to please his parents or pursue the photography he’s so passionate about. As Lucky and Jack adventure through Hong Kong, they begin to fall for one another, but their budding connection is threatened by the lies they’ve told one another: Lucky hides her real identity, pretending to be an ordinary girl who is on tour with her church choir, while Jack has secret plans to sell photographs of their day together to a tabloid to help launch his career. Narrated in short chapters that alternate between Jack’s and Lucky’s first-person perspectives, Goo (The Way You Make Me Feel, 2018, etc.) develops each character’s voice with clarity. A quick-paced, entertaining plot, witty banter, and expert characterization make this a light and satisfying read, and a wealth of local details effortlessly immerse the reader in the worlds of Hong Kong and K-pop stardom.

Charming and swoonworthy. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-31057-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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