A winning blend of touching moments, memorable characters and situational humor takes readers to a surprising revelation at...

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SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE

A teenager disappears and leaves behind a quirky to-do list for her best friend.

It’s the beginning of summer, and Emily is disconsolate; her best friend, Sloane, is nowhere to be found. But she’s disappeared before; her parents would occasionally steal Sloane away for a few days, and she would return tanned and with travel tales to tell. Without Sloane, reticent Emily feels like she’s lost her spiritual and social tether. Finally, two weeks later, Sloane sends Emily a to-do list in the mail—but without a return address. The list includes daring, funny, incongruous items like “Hug a Jamie,” “Steal something,” and “Go skinny-dipping,” and with the completion of each task, Emily is coaxed farther out of her shell. She recounts the navigation of the deep, unfamiliar waters of self-discovery in a grave, meticulous past tense. As she’s on her way to complete the first item, she befriends Frank Porter—a handsome, kind and accomplished fellow student. Emily shares the list with him, and as Frank helps Emily cross off each item, their friendship deepens. Soon, Emily’s having to remind herself that Frank has a serious girlfriend out of state, and anyway, they are just friends, right? Interspersed flashbacks provide revealing background into Sloane and Emily’s friendship.

A winning blend of touching moments, memorable characters and situational humor takes readers to a surprising revelation at the story’s end. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3500-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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