This is less Much Ado About Nothing and more just a long-winded comedy of errors.

SAVE THE DATE

On the weekend of the wedding, anything that could go wrong does.

For better or worse, the five Grant siblings have grown up in the public eye via their mother’s nationally adored comic strip (occasional examples of the strip are included). Hoping to attend a local university, Charlie, 17, is the youngest and the only child still at home. Now, with her sister Linnie’s wedding imminent, the entire family will be reunited, and Charlie is ecstatic. However, there really isn’t a single thing that runs smoothly the entire weekend. First the house alarm starts loudly and continually glitching, then the wedding planner vanishes, wedding suits and officiants are switched, the cake goes plummeting, and there are inevitable family fights. Meanwhile, Charlie’s longtime crush is also back for the weekend’s celebration (with kisses included), causing no little distraction in Charlie’s already overworked brain. What should have been a jolly beach read is instead a wade through excessive and unnecessary passages, such as numerous references to the characters’ eating doughnuts and a lengthy report on a game of capture the flag. All the author really wants to say is that there’s no such thing as a perfect family and that change, though certain, is unpredictable. The Grant family is white, Linnie’s fiance and his family are black.

This is less Much Ado About Nothing and more just a long-winded comedy of errors. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0457-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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