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OUT OF BODY

Complex, entertaining, and thought provoking.

An out-of-body story that tackles societal ills with a science fiction bent.

Seventeen-year-old Megan Allen is celebrating her “three-month friendiversary” with LC. The two Black girls clicked instantly when they happened to meet in a suburban Atlanta coffee shop, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Megan hasn’t had a friend like LC since she was a kid, so she’s thrilled. That all changes when, the morning after the party they went to, she wakes up alone, lying on the ground in the backyard of a boy she knows—in someone else’s body. As Megan adapts to her new, much taller frame, she races against time to find LC. But first, she has to figure out whose body she’s inhabiting now and assume her identity until she can get her own life (and body) back. Davenport’s genre-bending adventure zips along, with Megan adjusting to and fighting against her new reality. The examination of relevant teen themes of race, selfhood, and relationships plays out against the backdrop of an imaginatively developed landscape; Megan must believe in herself more than ever before if she’s going to save herself. In her YA debut, adult science fiction author Davenport deftly handles the body-switching plotline, keeping readers aware of who’s who while delivering all too believable scares in a story that’s a great choice for fans of Jordan Peele and Tiffany D. Jackson.

Complex, entertaining, and thought provoking. (Science fiction/thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780063255715

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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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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

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