ROMANCING THE THRONE

A light and fluffy read with a solid life lesson lending structure

Courtney whips up a frothy, modern fairy tale, dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to protection of privacy.

Libby and Charlotte Weston are more than just sisters—they’re besties. Even attending separate prep schools, the nouveau riche white girls text daily. So narrator Charlotte’s ecstatic when Libby must switch schools, joining her at prestigious Sussex Park, where England’s wealthy scions come to be educated. As Charlotte reaches out to smooth the way for her older sister to fit in with her “in” crowd, Libby finds that she too can make friends in this rarified group…especially with her sister’s new crush, Prince Edward, heir to the throne. In the same school, in a tight-knit circle of social elite, all seems to be going well until something becomes obvious: there are two sisters but only one prince. Choices need to be made…and someone will be hurt along the way. Starting off slowly, Courtney builds a solid cast of characters, spreading out from the sisters and the prince to their coterie of friends—the jet-setting, jealous heiress, the lesbian society girl still looking for love, the boy who tries too hard to fit in, the responsible dorm proctor…they’re all here and very recognizable even if their world appears to be more shallow than glamorous.

A light and fluffy read with a solid life lesson lending structure . (Chick lit. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-240662-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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

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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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