THE SAFEST LIES

Kelsey has lived her entire 17 years with her mother in a house set up like a fortress. When her agoraphobic mom disappears, Kelsey finds herself in real danger.

Kelsey’s mother was a famous kidnapping victim, and Kelsey is the daughter of the kidnapper. Her mom has no memory of the year she spent confined in a dark basement, but when she escaped she bought an upscale secluded house and rigged it up with a sophisticated security system, complete with barred windows and a panic room. A traffic accident puts the white teen in contact with classmate Ryan, a volunteer firefighter (and also white) who rescues her. On returning home from a ceremony honoring him, Kelsey realizes not only that her mother is missing, but that someone is trying to get into the house, sending her and Ryan into the panic room. Once their ordeal ends, Kelsey’s full of questions about her still-missing mother. All of Kelsey’s life, her mom has taught her to lie. Can it be that her mom has lied to her? Miranda writes some marvelously suspenseful scenes and keeps the story’s pace zooming along at a high clip during extensive action scenes. She keeps an underlying plotline of a romance with Ryan flowing along, and it provides nice relief from the suspense. If Ryan seems a bit too good to be true, fans won’t mind.

Positively movie-ready. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53751-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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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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