An unusual, uplifting take on self-discovery and starting over.

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HOW WE ROLL

After losing her hair—and friends—to alopecia, a high school freshman struggles to find her identity in a new school.

When Quinn’s family moves from Colorado to Massachusetts to address her autistic little brother Julius’ challenging “special needs,” Quinn vows that this will be a fresh start. No one will know that her beautiful hair is a wig. No one will know about that One Stupid Night, an uncomfortably realistic incident of sexual harassment that haunts her. Soon, her slate is full of friends, but Quinn’s popularity feels as precarious as the wig taped to her head—especially when she meets Nick, a bitter, artistic former football player who lost his legs to his brother’s drunken driving. As Quinn and Nick’s prickly relationship deepens, so do their characters; Friend’s (The Other F-Word, 2017, etc.) attention to physical and emotional detail brings readers into their anxious, itchy skins as both learn to trust and forgive. Frank discussions of phantom pain and post-traumatic stress add nuance to Nick’s bitterness. Alopecia support chats provide insight into Quinn’s sense of isolation, worsened by Julius’ demands on her parents. Unfortunately, Julius’ portrayal is jarringly distant; despite Quinn’s seeming acceptance, his clever flashes of personality are reduced to obsessions or therapeutic progress. Quinn and her family are white, her friend Carmen is Dominican, and other friends are ethnically ambiguous.

An unusual, uplifting take on self-discovery and starting over. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30566-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Fans of the familiar will find this an unchallenging goth-and-glitter pleasure

CITY OF LOST SOULS

From the Mortal Instruments series , Vol. 5

What with the race to save Jace from the new Big Bad, wonderful secondary characters get short shrift.

Clary's long-lost brother Sebastian, raised to be an evil overlord by their father (and Jace's foster father), has kidnapped Jace. While the many young (or young-appearing) protagonists want Jace back, only Clary swoons in constant self-absorption; her relationship angst, resolved two books ago, can't carry volume five the way it did earlier installments. The heroic, metaphysical and, yes, romantic travails of Simon, the daylight-walking, Jewish vampire with the Mark of Cain, would have made a more solid core for a second trilogy then Clary's continuing willingness to put her boyfriend ahead of the survival of the entire planet. The narrative zips from one young protagonist to another, as they argue with the werewolf council, summon angels and demons, fight the "million little paper cuts" of homophobia, and always, always negotiate sexual tension thick enough to cut with an iratze. Only the Clary perspective drags, focusing on her wardrobe instead of her character development, while the faux-incestuous vibes of earlier volumes give way to the real thing. The action once again climaxes in a tense, lush battle sequence just waiting for digital cinematic treatment. Clever prose is sprinkled lightly with Buffy-esque quips ("all the deadly sins....Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry, lust, and spanking").

Fans of the familiar will find this an unchallenging goth-and-glitter pleasure . (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1686-4

Page Count: 544

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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