Naïve but endearing.

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FOUR DAYS OF YOU AND ME

Lulu Wells has wanted to kill Alex Rouvelis for almost as long as she’s wanted to kiss him.

Sparks fly at the beginning of freshman year on election day as they compete for class president. But they become sworn enemies when vegan Lulu gets back at Alex, who won, for refusing to support her cause for a school garden—a moment she regrets when she realizes how much it hurts him. Alex gets his revenge by using presidential privilege to suggest that they go to a science museum for their freshman class field trip, knowing Lulu would hate it. Their romance blooms when they unconvincingly get stuck in the museum escape room and share their first kiss on the same day. From jealousy to first-time sex to respecting each other’s aspirations (Lulu is a graphic novelist, and Alex hopes for a baseball scholarship to avoid working forever in his family’s restaurant), their relationship throughout high school is anything but smooth. The narrative is mostly linear, alternating between four years of annual school field trips and flashback chapters that fill in the gaps. Supporting characters are two-dimensional and conveniently coupled up—the lack of single, independent characters throughout is unfortunate. Lulu is cued as white, and Alex is Greek American; Lulu’s best friend is gay, and there is some ethnic diversity in secondary characters.

Naïve but endearing. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8413-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the...

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING

An eleventh-grade girl wants to start a relationship but is stymied by depression and anxiety.

Syd knows her depression isn’t really out of control, like some people’s. She can usually manage the crushing fog that weighs her down: tricking herself into getting out of bed by playing the phone game; biking around Vancouver, British Columbia, until she’s exhausted; investing online with her cantankerous grandfather; eating just enough to get by. It works well enough until her lab partner, Paul, starts texting and flirting. Syd would respond in kind if she could, but she’s afraid to make eye contact or have conversations with new people—how could she possibly start a relationship? Fading into the background would be ideal, but her gregarious family has other plans. Her mother, revitalizing the family Passover celebration, ropes Syd into embarrassing Jewish singalongs. Worse, Syd’s vivacious sister wants to perform The Vagina Monologues for the school drama festival, and she’s written her own monologue—one that uses “the c-word”! The oozing darkness that dominates Syd’s thoughts is authentically represented in her present-tense narration and appropriately addressed with professional mental health treatment. Frustratingly, however, Syd’s nervousness about romantic and sexual intimacy is pathologized as a curable symptom of her mental illness.

An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance between a white Jewish girl and a Chinese-Canadian immigrant boy provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment . (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1184-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion

THE PACK

A group of shape-shifting runaways from the circus, on the run from genocidal hunters, tries to find a home.

Flo, her boyfriend, Jett, and the other shifters just want to find a strong pack to join. The teenagers (all either white or with no identified race) can all shift into an animal form: bears or tigers, parrots or rats, elephants or horses. The frightened escapees, who’ve lost many of their loved ones to hunters, have been seeking some safe place in the woods. The members of this huge cast (with too many names and animal forms to keep track of) have a wide array of agendas. Should they join the wild pack? The wolf pack? Should they even stay together? After brief dramas, many of these newly introduced characters vanish, never to be heard from again. Finally, Flo and the shifters are captured by hunters, who are in league with the lion who used to run their circus, who’d been betraying them for years and who now seeks to strike a bargain. Further dramatic revelations and betrayals await, of course. There’s no attempt to summarize the events of The Wanderers (2015), and with so many characters, side quests, and double crosses, it’s often difficult to keep track.

Even those who loved the first book might find too little logic in this conclusion . (Fantasy. 13-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-1218-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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