Not a must-read, even for Riverdale fans, but sufficiently entertaining.


From the Riverdale series , Vol. 1

The CW’s Riverdale gets a prequel.

It’s the day before Riverdale’s annual 4th of July Summerfest Carnival, and four teens are making the most of their summer. Sweetheart Betty Cooper is launching her writing career with an internship at HelloGiggles in Los Angeles and is assigned to write up a profile on Veronica Lodge, a young and extremely influential New York socialite who has been interning with Vogue and happens to have her own connection to the sleepy town of Riverdale. A rift has formed between best friends Jughead Jones and Archie Andrews. Jughead is working at the local drive-in theater and trying to keep an eye on his dad, a member of the Southside Serpents biker gang. Archie has fallen in love with both his music and his music teacher, Ms. Geraldine Grundy. Everyone has secrets, and some of Riverdale’s darkest are about to be unveiled. It starts with a gunshot heard around town and the disappearance of Riverdale High’s beloved football star, Jason Blossom. Ostow’s (Mean Girls, 2017, etc.) characterization stays true to the show, from Jughead’s wry cynicism to Betty’s growing internal darkness. The Lodges are Latinx, and diversity in the rest of the ensemble is assumed based on the show’s casting. The story alternates points of view, and multimedia text messages, emails, miscellaneous documents, etc., provide insight into various minor characters.

Not a must-read, even for Riverdale fans, but sufficiently entertaining. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-28944-2

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers.


Technology prevails over death, giving a teenage couple a second chance at goodbye.

High school senior Julie is paralyzed with grief over her boyfriend Sam’s death in a car accident. She avoids his funeral and throws away every reminder of him. They had planned to leave their small Pacific Northwest town together, and she now faces an uncertain and empty future. But one night she impulsively dials his cell, and, inexplicably, Sam answers. This is the first of many long conversations they have, neither understanding how or why this is happening but relishing the chance to say goodbye as they could not in life. However, Julie faces a difficult choice: whether or not to alleviate the pain of Sam’s loved ones by allowing them to talk to him, though it could put their own connection at risk. Yet, letting go and moving on might be just what she needs. The emotional tenor of the book is even throughout, making the characters feel remote at times and flattening the impact of momentous events—such as Julie and Sam’s first conversation—that are often buried in minor, day-in-the-life details. The time skips can also be difficult to follow. But the concept is a smart one and is sure to intrigue readers, especially those grappling with separation, loss, and mortality. Sam is cued as Japanese American; Julie defaults to White.

A rambling tale about grief that will appeal to patient, sentimental readers. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76203-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this.


From the Grimrose Girls series , Vol. 1

Four reimagined fairy-tale heroines must confront their inner demons to break a curse.

Ella, Yuki, and Rory attend the prestigious Grimrose Académie for Elite Students in the Swiss Alps. They are currently grieving the death of one of their best friends, and while Ari’s death by drowning has been deemed either an accident or suicide, her closest friends have their doubts. When they find an old book of fairy tales hidden in Ari’s things, full of strange annotations in her handwriting, the girls start working—along with new student Nani—to investigate Ari’s suspicious death. As they put together the pieces and discover other deaths that happened at Grimrose, they start to wonder if there was magic involved in Ari’s death—magic that may also be at the core of their very lives, cursing them to unhappy endings. Grief, identity, and friendship intersect in this enthralling mystery with dark magical undertones that ingeniously plays with fairy-tale tropes to tell a feminist story about empowerment and grappling with how to break away from the confines of societal expectations of girls. Reminiscent of the works of Anna-Marie McLemore and Elana K. Arnold, this book ends with the promise of more to come. The main cast is queer and features diversity in disability and mental health. Rory and Ella default to White; Yuki’s name cues her as Japanese, and Nani is Black and Native Hawaiian.

Fans of empowering feminist fairy-tale retellings will love this. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72822-887-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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