“The Darlings”—Jane, Natalya and Victoria—return in this tumultuous tale of first love (The Darlings Are Forever, 2011).
Having successfully navigated the transition to high school, the best friends now face their first serious relationships. Natalya gets a second chance at love when former crush Colin suddenly reappears in her life. Actress Jane embarks on a new romance with her stunning but mysterious co-star, Simon, while Victoria happily continues dating Jack. However, the façade of these seemingly perfect relationships soon starts to crumble, as love, like life, quickly becomes complicated. Kantor consummately conveys both the heartache and joy of first love. As the trio moves through the peaks and valleys of their relationships, they emerge slightly heartsore but infinitely wiser. Through the girls’ dating dilemmas, Kantor contemplates such topics as honesty, personal integrity and the importance of maintaining one’s own identity within a relationship. The strength of the tale lies in the girls’ steadfast, mutual support: Their friendship endures through advice given and not taken, remaining solid when things go awry.
While the girls may struggle with the complexities of life and love, readers will be confident that this resilient trio will prevail. (Fiction. 13 & up)