From the Real Life series , Vol. 3

Cassidy is a gifted basketball player, so when she lands wrong and blows out her ACL in a key game, it doesn't just foul up the season, it jeopardizes her ability to win a college scholarship, and MRIs, surgery and physical therapy don't come cheap. When her brother's fiancée, a med student, offers her a shortcut, she leaps at it. Readers will know long before Cassidy does what those "supplements" really are, but they'll bleed with her when she is suspended for steroid use and ostracized. As with the series opener, Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book (2010), the real narrative arc is how Cassidy negotiates her emotional healing with the help of the mysterious RL book, a teenspeak Bible with a mind of its own that guides her to exactly the right stories to help her along the way. A bevy of sympathetic secondary teen characters keeps the predictable story enjoyable. Her hypercompetitive father, truculent brother, once-distant-now-supportive mother and saintly physical therapist stretch believability, but Cassidy's likable enough that readers will probably stick with her anyway. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-310-71486-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010


A dizzying, intimate romance.

Rowan teams up with her academic nemesis to win a citywide scavenger hunt.

Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been rivals in a never-ending game of one-upmanship since freshman year. Now, on the last day of senior year, Rowan hopes to best Neil once and for all as valedictorian, then win Howl, a scavenger hunt with a $5,000 cash prize. She also hopes to sneak away to her favorite romance author’s book signing; no one’s ever respected her passion for the genre, not even her children’s book author/illustrator parents. But Rowan’s named salutatorian, and vengeful classmates plot to end her and Neil’s reign. At first their partnership is purely strategic, but as the pair traverse the city, they begin to open up. Rowan learns that Neil is Jewish too and can relate to both significant cultural touchstones and experiences of casual anti-Semitism. As much as Rowan tries to deny it, real feelings begin to bloom. Set against a lovingly evoked Seattle backdrop, Rowan and Neil’s relationship develops in an absorbing slow burn, with clever banter and the delicious tension of first love. Issues of class, anti-Semitism, and sex are discussed frankly. Readers will emerge just as obsessed with this love story as Rowan is with her beloved romance novels. Rowan’s mother is Russian Jewish and Mexican, and her father is American Jewish and presumably White; most other characters are White.

A dizzying, intimate romance. (author’s note) (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4024-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020


From the Dericott Tale series

A period Christian romance that is lean on historical atmosphere.

A plot to expose a greedy nobleman in 1386 England leads two justice seekers to fall in love.

When Violet, named for her unusually colored eyes, learns that her grandmother has become a victim of Baron Dunham’s unlawful so-called protection tax, she is determined to alert King Richard to the injustice but is intercepted by the baron’s men. After she is taken before the baron, Violet, who was adopted as a young child, learns a tragic and shocking secret about her own history. The baron, meanwhile, is scheming to increase his own power and has plans that threaten Violet. But Violet keeps crossing paths with Sir Merek of Dericott, a knight who has recently joined the baron’s household at the king’s request. Sir Merek proves trustworthy, and he and Violet join forces to try to find the secret account book that will prove to the king what the baron has been doing to exploit his subjects. Over time, Violet and Sir Merek fall in love. Though Violet is high-spirited, and she and Sir Merek are well developed, most of the cast is one-dimensional, and the medieval setting feels spare and underdeveloped. There are some references to previous novels in the series, but this entry, in which Christianity is woven throughout, succeeds as a stand-alone. All characters are cued White.

A period Christian romance that is lean on historical atmosphere. (Historical romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9780840708199

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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