Engaging stories that fill a need for reluctant readers seeking positive, inspiring stories of same-sex relationships.



From the Lorimer Real Love series

A suburban Vancouver teen wants to make her mark online.

After her cover of a Rihanna song goes viral following the lackluster performance of her beauty tutorials, queer, biracial (Danish/Asian Indian) Char Gill decides that devoting herself to her guitar and vocals will help jump-start her social media presence, even if it means abandoning other pursuits like the LGBTQ+ club at school. However, her school’s pack of mean girls targets Char’s social media and begins to troll her. Char discovers an app, SendLove, created to combat online bullying by drowning out hateful comments in a crowd of positive ones. Using the handle “Charming,” she strikes up an online relationship with the SendLove moderator, “Cinders.” Connecting through video conversations before meeting face to face, their relationship quickly becomes romantic. As Char becomes more involved with SendLove and Cinders, she takes stock of her life and does a self-designed internet detox. A companion novel, Cinders, details events from Ash’s (aka Cinders’) point of view. Ash is a presumably white teenager living with her stepfather and stepsiblings after her mother’s death. A talented coder, she invented SendLove as an entry for a badly needed college scholarship. The books address homophobia and heteronormativity, dysfunctional families, bullying—both face-to-face and cyber—and the pitfalls of social media with realism and care. The girls’ sweet romance helps each of them grow in confidence and learn to take emotional risks.

Engaging stories that fill a need for reluctant readers seeking positive, inspiring stories of same-sex relationships. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4594-1387-0

Page Count: 178

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2018

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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