A well-balanced delivery of heavy topics tempered with wry humor.

GOOD AND GONE

A road trip leads to self-acceptance and inner strength.

It’s February, and Lexi Green’s heartbroken 19-year-old brother, Charlie, has been occupying the sofa since he came home for winter break in December. When musician Adrian Wildes goes missing, Charlie suggests they find him. The last thing the 15-year-old white high school sophomore wants to do is traipse all over the Northeast searching for a musician whose music she despises, but someone needs to look after Charlie, who is still reeling from a breakup months before. They enlist their neighbor, gay white boy Zack, as driver. Lexi and Charlie’s relationship is strained, primarily because Charlie’s depression darkens his perspective and Lexi believes he’s “sad because of nothing.” Lexi’s first-person narration is structured into two main, alternating parts: “Before” slowly reveals the events that led to a falling out with her best friends and to her breakup with Seth, a manipulative, patronizing faux feminist. “Now” is narrated in the present tense, and it’s here that Lexi finally admits to herself and to Charlie what happened with Seth in a troubling encounter she’s second-guessed the nature of for months. Lexi challenges male and female double standards by questioning them without pedantry or superiority; she’s genuinely perplexed by society’s conflicting messages about gender. Primary characters are white; four characters of color have minor roles.

A well-balanced delivery of heavy topics tempered with wry humor. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234842-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

SOLO

The 17-year-old son of a troubled rock star is determined to find his own way in life and love.

On the verge of adulthood, Blade Morrison wants to leave his father’s bad-boy reputation for drug-and-alcohol–induced antics and his sister’s edgy lifestyle behind. The death of his mother 10 years ago left them all without an anchor. Named for the black superhero, Blade shares his family’s connection to music but resents the paparazzi that prevent him from having an open relationship with the girl that he loves. However, there is one secret even Blade is unaware of, and when his sister reveals the truth of his heritage during a bitter fight, Blade is stunned. When he finally gains some measure of equilibrium, he decides to investigate, embarking on a search that will lead him to a small, remote village in Ghana. Along the way, he meets people with a sense of purpose, especially Joy, a young Ghanaian who helps him despite her suspicions of Americans. This rich novel in verse is full of the music that forms its core. In addition to Alexander and co-author Hess’ skilled use of language, references to classic rock songs abound. Secondary characters add texture to the story: does his girlfriend have real feelings for Blade? Is there more to his father than his inability to stay clean and sober? At the center is Blade, fully realized and achingly real in his pain and confusion.

A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told. (Verse fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-310-76183-9

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 38

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more