An unforgettable journey to adulthood

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THE OCEAN IN MY EARS

Merideth “Meri” Miller’s future is a black hole, but the summer before senior year stretches before her, and her life is changing faster than she can keep up.

Meri’s white best friend, Charlie, spends all of her time with her new boyfriend; her grandmother is dying; her brother is in a serious accident; and she struggles with decisions: where to go to college and when to have sex for the first time. Her two-faced boyfriend, older white guy Brett, is all hands and runs hot and cold, but she ignores the red flags; at least he’s interested in her. The boy she wishes she were with, her longtime crush, the elusive Joaquin, who is Mexican, seems mildly interested, although he doesn’t act on his feelings. Meri is complex: her desire to leave her small hometown of Soldotna, Alaska, after graduation battles the 17-year-old white girl’s fear of leaving for the unknown. She questions everything and asks all the right questions; themes of life and death, ecstasy and grief, and loss and gain permeate the story. Her story eventually subverts the familiar heteronormative plotline, in which the girl gives up everything for the boy and allows herself to be defined by his feelings for her. Her candid first-person narrative is punctuated by journal entries, notes exchanged with her best friend, and letters between Meri and her grandmother. The 1990s setting is marked by tsunami-height hair, acid-wash denim, and multiple trips to see Pretty Woman.

An unforgettable journey to adulthood . (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-932010-94-7

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Ooligan Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A creative and compelling read.

A NEON DARKNESS

From the Bright Sessions series , Vol. 2

Robert can manipulate others—but he doesn’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.

Following The Infinite Noise (2019), this Bright Sessions book tells the origin story of Damien, ne Robert, one of the podcast’s antagonists. When the book opens, Robert is an 18-year-old high school dropout and White boy with no family but all the material resources he could ever need. He has the power to make people do what he wants, or more accurately, to want the same things he wants. After arriving in Los Angeles, he falls in with a slightly older group of Unusuals with various powers who take him under their wing. Shippen combines an exciting plot with diverse characters—such as Neon, who is Black and queer, and Indah, who is Indonesian, Muslim, and lesbian—who defy stereotypes. As the group tangles with a shady organization that has kidnapped their friend, they also realize that the affection they feel for Robert might not be real. Robert’s emotional arc is interesting and unusual—he wants to be a good person, but he is selfish, manipulative, and unwilling to change. He is sympathetic while also being pitiful and contemptible and far too uncool to be an antihero. This may be the best Bright Sessions content yet as well as an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with this world.

A creative and compelling read. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-29754-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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