A sweet and uplifting novel for reluctant readers.


From the Lorimer Real Love series

Astrid struggles through her dramatically changed life, learning how to balance work, school, robotics club, and new love.

A year ago, Astrid’s parents lost their jobs, the house, and all their savings, completely upending her life. She had been a carefree teen with a loving girlfriend, Ivy. Now she works every spare moment at a frozen yogurt shop, scrounging tips and saving her meager pay while handling abusive customers, all in the hope of attending university. Unfortunately, when Astrid joins a youth-led robotics team sponsored by the University of British Columbia, she finds that Ivy’s new boyfriend, Karsyn, is already a member. As Astrid struggles with extra work shifts and robotics meetings with the increasingly patronizing Karsyn, she starts to notice a girl named Bernie, their confident team captain. While Astrid’s inner narration is sometimes clunky, her maturation and evolving sense of self are realistic and easy to follow. Similarly, the discussions of stress, money issues, family, and gender roles add important layers to the simple plot. The robotics competition is not fleshed out in detail but provides an entertaining backdrop to Astrid’s growth as well as a parallel between their creations and love interest Bernie, who may be neurodivergent. Their romance is slow and satisfying but would have benefited from further exploration. Astrid is assumed White; Bernie is cued as East Asian, and names signal ethnic diversity in the supporting cast.

A sweet and uplifting novel for reluctant readers. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4594-1586-7

Page Count: 168

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.


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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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