Sparks fly between Emmy and Jude, but they may not between Emmy and readers

LOVE IS LOVE

From the Lorimer Real Love series

When mousy, pudgy, white Emmy goes to her father’s family in Vancouver for a change of scene, she falls head over heels for Jude, a young white trans man.

Readers first meet 17-year-old Emmy as she kneels to give a loutish classmate a blow job. Far from earning her a boyfriend she can share her poetry with, it garners her friends’ scorn and her mother’s decision to send her away from Winnipeg. In Vancouver, she meets barista Jude, who instantly grabs her attention. Her distance schooling isn’t enough to keep Emmy occupied, and she finds herself drawn back to his coffee shop again and again, even, disastrously, taking part in an open mic night. Emmy’s catastrophically poor self-confidence frequently sends her retreating to her room to “comfort eat,” and she refuses to recognize Jude’s obvious interest in her, a self-pitying characteristic readers may find grating. High points for both Emmy and readers occur when her uncle gives her her deceased father’s youthful notebooks and shows her around the city by bike. Refreshingly, Jude does not function as a coming-of-age device, nor does Emmy ever evince any transphobia, instead educating herself as she crushes ever harder on him. However, this slim novel doesn’t give him much space to emerge as a fully developed character, particularly as so much page count is spent on Emmy’s misery.

Sparks fly between Emmy and Jude, but they may not between Emmy and readers . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4594-1232-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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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