Intricate, nuanced, and empowering.


Stifled by her loving but repressive parents, a teen endeavors to take charge of her own life.

Seventeen-year-old Verónica Rentería’s parents forbid many things, especially promiscuity—which includes any romantic gesture, however innocent, leading Vero to feel ashamed of her own desires. But above all, she and her younger sister, Dani, must never attract attention; her family immigrated to Florida from Peru when Vero was small, and her parents caution that their permanent resident status is tenuous. Vero feels constant pressure to make their sacrifices worthwhile, but she can’t help standing out: Numerous surgeries for her hip dysplasia have left her with scars. And ever since her parents caught her making out with a boy, they’ve treated her like she’s “impossible to scrub clean.” Even her body is out of her control since her parents handle all of her medical decisions. Swimming is her only freedom, and Vero idolizes the aquatic performers at Mermaid Cove, a popular tourist attraction. So when Mermaid Cove advertises auditions, she wonders: Could becoming a mermaid enable her to finally tell her own story? Sylvester, who has hip dysplasia herself, poignantly braids multiple issues into Vero’s angry, vulnerable, and lyrical narration, including disability, sexism, and biculturalism. Vero’s messy but supportive relationship with Dani compassionately acknowledges the friction that can arise between disabled and nondisabled siblings, and her romance with Mexican American Alex, who deals with depression, gently explores trust and self-discovery.

Intricate, nuanced, and empowering. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-53686-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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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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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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