A WALK IN THE SUN

Channeling the likes of Nicholas Sparks, Zink offers readers a formulaic, saccharine-sweet summer romance that will leave...

Lonesome, tenderhearted cowboy? Check. Grieving and fiercely independent young woman who’s sworn never again to open herself up to love? Check. An undeniable chemistry “like the charge in the air just before lightning cracks the sky?” Double check.

Rose Darrow, a newly minted high school graduate, is neither college bound nor setting off to explore the world she longs to see. Instead, she will remain at home to run the farm where her family has lived for generations while grieving the loss of her mother and tending to her broken-hearted father. Enter 18-year-old Bodhi Lowell, a cowboy who left home at 14 and never turned back. Hired by Rose’s aunt as a summer hand, Bodhi arrives at the Darrow farm, and the inevitable sparks begin to fly. Though it's predictable and rife with hyperbolic professions of love and longing, readers who know the score and are willing to go along for the ride will find plenty to enjoy. The white teens are both likable and damaged just enough to engage easy sympathy, and fans will surely find themselves rooting for Bodhi and Rose to get together and for their predestined (both figurative and literal) roll in the hay.

Channeling the likes of Nicholas Sparks, Zink offers readers a formulaic, saccharine-sweet summer romance that will leave fans of the genre with racing hearts and others with their teeth aching. (Romance. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243446-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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