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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Fans of the familiar will find this an unchallenging goth-and-glitter pleasure


From the Mortal Instruments series , Vol. 5

What with the race to save Jace from the new Big Bad, wonderful secondary characters get short shrift.

Clary's long-lost brother Sebastian, raised to be an evil overlord by their father (and Jace's foster father), has kidnapped Jace. While the many young (or young-appearing) protagonists want Jace back, only Clary swoons in constant self-absorption; her relationship angst, resolved two books ago, can't carry volume five the way it did earlier installments. The heroic, metaphysical and, yes, romantic travails of Simon, the daylight-walking, Jewish vampire with the Mark of Cain, would have made a more solid core for a second trilogy then Clary's continuing willingness to put her boyfriend ahead of the survival of the entire planet. The narrative zips from one young protagonist to another, as they argue with the werewolf council, summon angels and demons, fight the "million little paper cuts" of homophobia, and always, always negotiate sexual tension thick enough to cut with an iratze. Only the Clary perspective drags, focusing on her wardrobe instead of her character development, while the faux-incestuous vibes of earlier volumes give way to the real thing. The action once again climaxes in a tense, lush battle sequence just waiting for digital cinematic treatment. Clever prose is sprinkled lightly with Buffy-esque quips ("all the deadly sins....Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry, lust, and spanking").

Fans of the familiar will find this an unchallenging goth-and-glitter pleasure . (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1686-4

Page Count: 544

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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A dynamic story of grief, loyalty, and, finally, some cheerworthy victories.


With her father dead, her friends being yanked away, and fatphobia battering her, a teen finds affection and strength with a boy she meets online.

Fifteen-year-old Shay lost Dad a year ago, and she’s not close to her stepmother, who seems only to wish that Shay were thinner. At school, nemesis Kelly leaves oinking stuffed pigs on her chair and changes Shay’s cell ringtone to pig sounds. Best friends Dash and Boots are being stolen: Boots by brain cancer, which is killing her, and Dash by his father, who sends him to military school for being gay. Shay connects with a boy online (screen name “Godotwait4me”)—until their growing closeness infuriates Kelly so much she launches a website she calls Get the Pig Back in Its Pen, dedicated to breaking them up. StVil’s verse prose is inventive and alive, sometimes cryptic, sometimes lurching, sometimes stunning; it rhymes only rarely yet with the effect of a gut punch (“Car. Speed. Head. / Docs. Tried. Dad. Dead”). Food-based figures of speech are gorgeous; unfortunately, they underscore the stereotype of Shay as a fat comfort-eater, but refreshingly, the plot has no weight-loss arc. Shay and Godot’s text threads hum with mutual attraction, high wit, and each one’s self-defeating fragilities. Shay’s race is undesignated, although she looks white on the cover.

A dynamic story of grief, loyalty, and, finally, some cheerworthy victories. (Verse fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-70674-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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