No new literary ground is broken here, but readers seeking a sweet story of first love will sigh appreciatively.

READ REVIEW

SIXTEENTH SUMMER

From the Swept Away series

Love blossoms between a summer boy and a local girl in a chaste romance set on the foggy coast of Maine.

Goofy out-of-towner Oliver sweeps the virginal, insecure Mandy off her feet with his warm smile and sketch pad. What follows is a whirlwind of blueberry hand pies, stolen kisses, and crafty high jinks to save the local lighthouse. Dalton's light prose sidesteps the current vogue for overwrought darkness in teen fiction; the only shadow cast on the romance is the inevitability of summer’s end, and the dramatic tension in their innocent attachment centers on Oliver’s wish for Mandy to find her voice and use it. Employing simple tropes—the misunderstood loner, the anxious-harridan mom, the beauty-queen best friend—Dalton imparts simple wisdom about being true to oneself and seeing beyond surface impressions of other people. The mildness of the story harkens back to an earlier era of teen romance, belying the ubiquity of cellphones and Internet connections. Readers titillated by the butt-groping clinch on the front cover may well be disappointed by the innocence within.

No new literary ground is broken here, but readers seeking a sweet story of first love will sigh appreciatively. (Romance. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3609-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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One great big whodontcare.

WHEN YOU LEAVE

A skater girl–turned–private school coed investigates the death of her two-week-old hookup in this debut.

After her single mom remarries and moves Cass to private school, the teen copes by maintaining her friendships with the male skateboarders from her old neighborhood, including her best friend, Mattie, who has become mute after a bout with throat cancer. In spite of her disdain for St. Bernadette’s, Cass falls for Cooper, an attractive peer counselor who has the bad luck to be murdered two weeks after he and Cass meet. When Cass’ skater friend Gav is accused of the murder, she is determined to clear his name. After many accusations and much lying and sneaking out, Cass ends up getting her biggest clue from a dream, and the murderer is no one readers ever could have guessed. While the story has some satisfying moments, the text is littered with clichés and laughably clunky sentences like “Reality stroked my stomach like a hot poker.” The dialogue is awkward, the secondary characters are hard to distinguish from one another, and it’s difficult to believe that independent Cass would so easily fall for a “[t]ypical pretty boy” who woos her with phrases like “I like you….You have a virtual, I don’t know, rainbow of emotions without even talking.” The most interesting character by far is Mattie, who carries a torch for Cass and communicates with finger taps and shoulder shrugs. Their slowly unfolding romance is the engine that drives this otherwise uninspired mystery.

One great big whodontcare. (Mystery. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7624-5455-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Running Press Teens

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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