A well-rounded, much-needed portrait of a boy with self-image issues and a narrow mindset who expands his viewpoint and...

READ REVIEW

QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK YOU

Searching for the mother he knew nothing about changes a young man’s life.

Patrick Walsh’s nickname “Pack” was originally a nasty insult given to him when he was overweight. But after years of hardcore CrossFit and a rigid adherence to the paleo diet, the white 18-year-old is in great shape and looking forward to a summer spent with his girlfriend, Maddie, who is also white. Pack thinks they’re going to be together forever, even with Maddie going to University of Massachusetts in the fall while Pack stays home with his cop father. A few days before graduation, Pack receives a letter from his mother—a woman he believed was dead. As he slowly works to solve this mystery, Pack discovers that the plans he’s made aren’t necessarily the only right ones for him: Maybe one bite of cake won’t make him fat again; maybe he’s cut out for college after all; maybe he won’t be with Maddie forever. Pack’s slow maturation is handled well, albeit with stilted exposition. The crime element of the story is underdeveloped, and the resolution that explains his mother’s absence is clunky. These shortcomings are easily forgiven, however, given the novel’s strong character development.

A well-rounded, much-needed portrait of a boy with self-image issues and a narrow mindset who expands his viewpoint and prepares for an uncertain future. (Mystery. 16-18)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268023-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Few chills and even less logic.

BENT HEAVENS

Can Liv put the pieces of her life back together after her father’s mental breakdown?

In rural Bloughton, Iowa, Liv takes solace in the cross country team and the idea that she will be off to college before too long. Three years ago, her father, the high school’s former English and drama teacher, vanished only to return naked and talking about alien abduction. He disappeared for good eight months later. Liv and her friend Doug check the elaborate traps her father built in the woods during those eight months every Sunday. The teacher who replaced him decides to stage the same musical that was her father’s swan song, and after getting in trouble for an outburst over her insensitivity, Liv decides to destroy the traps…but discovers that one has caught an alien. After hiding the horrifying creature in her father’s shed, they discover it has her father’s compass. In anger, Liv attacks the beast and then she and Doug torture it repeatedly as revenge for her missing father…but the alien is not what they perceive him to be, and as the truth is revealed, the horror mounts. Kraus’ (Blood Sugar, 2019, etc.) newest horror fantasy (there is no science here) might inspire more anger than horror as the protagonists respond to otherness with violence. Outrage will likely be followed by laughter at the stagy, manipulative, over-the-top conclusion. Most characters seem to be white.

Few chills and even less logic. (Horror. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15167-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body.

MY EYES ARE UP HERE

Greer Walsh wishes she were one person...unfortunately, with her large breasts, she feels like she’s actually three.

High school sophomore and math whiz Greer is self-conscious about her body. Maude and Mavis, as she’s named her large breasts, are causing problems for her. When Greer meets new kid Jackson Oates, she wishes even more that she had a body that she didn’t feel a need to hide underneath XXL T-shirts. While trying to impress Jackson, who has moved to the Chicago suburbs from Cleveland, Greer decides to try out for her school’s volleyball team. When she makes JV, Greer is forced to come to terms with how her body looks and feels in a uniform and in motion as well as with being physically close with her teammates. The story is told in the first person from Greer’s point of view. Inconsistent storytelling as well as Greer’s (somewhat distracting) personified inner butterfly make this realistic novel a slow but overall enjoyable read. The story contains elements of light romance as well as strong female friendships. Greer is white with a Christian mom and Jewish dad; Jackson seems to be white by default, and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A sweet, slow-paced novel about a teen learning to love her body. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1524-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more