A compassionate but clearsighted look at student-teacher liaisons, somewhat diminished by an over-the-top plot setup.

READ REVIEW

CONSENT

When Dane Rossi, a young English pianist substitute-teaching Bea’s music-appreciation class, hears Bea play, he insists she could have a career as a concert pianist and urges her to apply to his alma mater, Juilliard, even as their intense, mutual attraction complicates her choices.

Bea’s mother went to Juilliard and also dreamed of becoming a concert pianist, but she died giving birth to Bea, who’s sure her father and older brother hold her responsible. Entirely self-taught, Bea’s kept her dreams secret. Now, blossoming under Dane’s guidance, she accepts his offer to introduce her to his Juilliard mentor, a great pianist. But when her relationship with Dane takes a turn toward intimacy on their trip to New York, she’s both confused and thrilled. The story’s strongest when it focuses on this relationship, honoring its complexity and neither oversimplifying it nor demonizing either of them. While that’s deftly handled, other plot points strain credulity. Readers will have difficulty buying Bea’s near perfection as a classical pianist given that her only instruction has been “from books and online and stuff.” After all, a crucial element of classical musical training is feedback from teachers on student performance. While Bea’s family is underdeveloped, her deep guilt at having been born seems more than a tad overblown.

A compassionate but clearsighted look at student-teacher liaisons, somewhat diminished by an over-the-top plot setup. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6490-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This story is necessary. This story is important.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more